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Columbia SC OMVH Administrative Hearings Attorneys

Columbia OMVH Administrative Hearings Attorney

Helping you reinstate your driver’s license after a DUI in Columbia, South Carolina

An arrest for DUI triggers a chain of consequences, some of which take effect immediately. A DUI charge here and across the country essentially involves two levels of legal proceedings – the criminal charge involving your liberties and the administrative process involving your driving privileges.

Many people don't realize how significantly a DUI arrest impacts their driving privileges. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .15 or greater, you will face an automatic license suspension for at least 30 days — even if this was your first offense. Likewise, if you refuse to submit to a breath test, your license will be automatically suspended for at least six months.

You have the right to challenge the automatic suspension by requesting a hearing within 30 days after your arrest. You may even receive temporary driving privileges pending the outcome of the hearing. Given this tight deadline, it's important to act quickly in pursuing next steps.

Contact The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. for guidance on protecting your driver's license. We handle all aspects of DUI cases, including administrative proceedings before the South Carolina Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings (OMVH).

REMEMBER! You only have 30 days from the date of your arrest to appeal a license suspension.

What is an OMVH administrative hearing?

If you refuse a breath test or have a reading of .15 or greater, South Carolina Code § 56-5-2951 requires your driver’s license be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The arresting officer will confiscate your license and provide you with a Notice of Suspension. Your suspension begins the day you’re arrested.

Violation of the implied consent law is typically a six-month suspension and a .15 or higher BAC is at least 30 days, with these periods increasing for subsequent convictions and implied consent suspensions. And, even if your DUI charges are dropped or dismissed, your license suspension still holds.

When your license is suspended after a DUI arrest, you have only 30 days to request an administrative hearing with the OMVH. If you do not request a hearing within this timeframe, you cannot fight to end your suspension. It will remain on your record and you will be required to take alcohol education classes and take other steps to have your driving privileges reinstated even if your suspension period has ended. When you apply for a hearing, while your case is pending, you can obtain a Temporary Alcohol Restricted License (TARL). A TARL allows you to drive lawfully while you await your hearing.

It’s important to have an experienced DUI attorney on your side for an OMVH administrative hearing, working both to ensure your request for a hearing is filed on time and to contest the license suspension.

What happens at an OMVH administrative hearing?

Unlike a criminal proceeding, an OMVH administrative hearing takes place before a hearing officer and not a jury. Also present will be the officer who made the arrest and, if different, the person who administered the breath test. The officers will give their testimony and your defense attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine them.

Remember, the issue at hand is not whether you are guilty of DUI – the hearing’s purpose is to determine whether the arrest was lawful and whether the breath test was administered properly.

If your suspension is lifted, your regular driver’s license will be restored. However, if you are later convicted of a criminal DUI or DUAC charge, your license may be suspended as part of your penalty. If your license suspension is upheld, you must turn in your TARL and enroll in the state’s Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).

The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. also aggressively defends clients against other criminal charges, including assault, arson, kidnapping, and charges against college students. We also handle drunk driving defense.

What is a provisional driver’s license, and can I get one?

Aside from the administrative issues that come with a DUI or DUAC, if you’re convicted of these charges you will lose your driver’s license. However, in some cases you can restore some of your driving privileges.

Provisional driver’s license

After a first offense DUI conviction, you may be eligible for a provisional driver’s license for the period your standard license is suspended. This license allows you to drive with no restrictions in South Carolina. However, you must meet certain requirements for a provisional license:

  • You must have or have had a valid SC driver's license.
  • You must have met all requirements for prior suspensions, revocations, and cancellations.
  • If the DUI or DUAC violation was on October 1, 2014 or later, you must have a BAC of .14 or less.
  • You must have no other suspensions after the DUI or DUAC suspension except for these, as long as they are from the same DUI or DUAC violation: implied consent, implied consent under 21, BAC of .02 or greater, BAC of .15 or greater, or alcohol violation.
  • You must be enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
  • You must pay $100 for a provisional license.

We understand that all of the options, deadlines, and administrative hearings can be confusing. Attorney Hough will walk you through the process, explaining all potential outcomes and consequences. If you’ve been arrested for DUI or DUAC, our priority is getting your license back – and time is of the essence. Call today to get started on your case.

Finding the strongest grounds for winning back your driver’s license

Lawyer A. Randolph "Randy" Hough, a former prosecutor with over 25 years of experience, has handled 2,000-plus DUI cases. He excels at finding the right angles for presenting a compelling case, and approaches every case with the determination it takes to win. Don't wait until it's too late to challenge the suspension. Contact The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. today. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Columbia or Charleston, please call 803-771-4119 or fill out our contact form.