If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer who suspects that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will likely face the prospect of deciding whether to take the breathalyzer test. The question of whether the officer has legal cause to believe you have violated the law, thereby entitling him to request a test for alcohol or drugs, can be reviewed by the Idaho Transportation Department at an administrative license suspension (referred to as “ALS”) hearing. If you have been cited with DUI, be sure to make a request for the ALS hearing within seven days, in writing. If you fail to do so your license suspension will go unchallenged and into effect as the papers the officer indicate.

So why should you request the ALS hearing? Because you might win.

Last week we successfully defended a client in an ALS hearing, and the hearing officer vacated the suspension. Translation: the Department will not suspend his license and he can keep driving. The DUI charge that is pending could still result in the court suspending his license at some point down the road, but only on a finding of guilt. Unless a jury says he is guilty, he can continue to drive.

Just a word about that case is in order here – the case involved an accident in which our client took a serious blow to the head. He awoke in the hospital and was later informed that he was being charged with DUI – not by alcohol, but by drugs. He had traces of a prescription drug and a non-prescription drug in his blood stream, and if there was enough of the drug “on board” at the time of the accident, the state might be able to make an argument that the drugs influenced his driving. But that will require some real evidence of the amount or his driving pattern, and the state has neither. We will see where this one ends up, but I would bet it never goes to trial.

If you have questions about a legal matter, give us a call at 208-342-4633. We may be able to help you find a way through the legal minefields out there.