What Does an “Express Consent License Revocation” Mean?
If you have been accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol, then you probably have already been confronted by the confusing process of an Express Consent (EC) license revocation. In Colorado, the Express Consent Law requires any person to cooperate in the taking and completing of a chemical test if a police officer has probable cause to believe the person is driving under the influence or his ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired because of alcohol, drugs or both.
While this law is constantly changing, we at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., will give you a very informal description of Express Consent revocations in this article (in general, that is—for specifics and up-to-date information, please call our office).
Step 1: You Get Served
If you refuse to take a chemical test, or submit to a breath test that produces a result greater than 0.08 BrAC, then you will be presumed to be under the influence of alcohol. In these two situations, your license will be taken by the law enforcement agent and you will be served immediately with an Express Consent Affidavit and Notice of Revocation. Once you receive this document, the revocation process has started and you will need to act quickly.
For the person accused of DUI, much of the confusion stems from the independent nature of the revocation proceeding. The EC process is administered by Colorado’s DMV rather than the court system and it begins before you step foot in a courtroom. This can be frightening for many reasons, and it’s important that anyone who’s been served with the EC Affidavit and Notice of Revocation act immediately to protect his or her rights. Immediate action gives you a chance to challenge the revocation itself and begin to mount the best possible defense to avoid severe and often life-altering consequences. (We highly recommend speaking to a defense attorney at once.)
Step 2: You Request a Hearing
After being served with the EC Affidavit, you have only seven days to request a hearing. This hearing is extremely important, because you will have the chance to request a temporary permit that will allow you to keep driving prior to your case being tried. Colorado’s EC law authorizes the DMV to revoke your driving privileges prior to any criminal conviction.
At the hearing, a hearing officer will need to determine whether the statutory elements (proper filing of paperwork, etc.) have been satisfied and consider any evidence you wish to present. The key inquiries are whether you were in control of a motor vehicle in the State of Colorado when your blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit, or, in cases of an alleged refusal, if a police officer had probable cause to suspect you of driving while impaired.
The Hearing Officer only needs to determine there is a preponderance of evidence to support a finding. If the hearing officer finds that it is more likely than not (51% or more) that you were driving under the influence, he or she is required under Colorado law to enter a revocation. The Hearing Officer does not have any discretion in the length of the revocation.
Step 3: You Speak to a Lawyer
The EC process can be complicated and overwhelming. It can be difficult to grasp how critical the revocation proceedings are in helping form a defense and successfully contest a DUI charge. Our experienced DUI attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., have the knowledge and determination to assist our clients in securing a successful outcome. We strongly recommend that you speak to us as soon as you think you may be charged. Contact us today at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free consultation.