Utah DUI–Appealing the Driver’s License Suspension

After the informal administrative driver’s license hearing is held and the DMV mails out notice that the citizen’s driver’s license will be suspended, there are a couple of procedures that need to be followed in appealing the DMV’s decision. The following is an outline of the process and procedures that I follow to file an appeal. I appeal most of my driver’s license decisions and seem to be successful at most of them.

  1. File a letter with the DMV requesting reconsideration of the decision. Many times I do this the day the hearing is held. The DMV decisions have become such a rubber stamp and most decision are held against the citizen. The request of reconsideration letter will do no good and a form letter will come back from the DMV indicating “after careful consideration, the Department upholds the decision of the hearing officer.” However, this is an important step to take away the Attorney General’s argument that all administrative procedures and remedies have not been exhausted.
  2. File a Petition for Judicial Review of Suspension of Driver’s License and follow the guidelines Utah Code Ann. §63-46b-15.  Include procedural due process claims and allege that the Department is not following the Administrative Procedures Act as you see fit.

(2) (a) The petition for judicial review of informal adjudicative proceedings shall be a complaint governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and shall include:      

      (i) the name and mailing address of the party seeking judicial review;

      (ii) the name and mailing address of the respondent agency;

      (iii) the title and date of the final agency action to be reviewed, together with a copy, summary, or brief description of the agency action;

      (iv) identification of the persons who were parties in the informal adjudicative proceedings that led to the agency action;

      (v) a copy of the written agency order from the informal proceeding;

      (vi) facts demonstrating that the party seeking judicial review is entitled to obtain judicial review;

      (vii) a request for relief, specifying the type and extent of relief requested; and

     (viii) a statement of the reasons why the petitioner is entitled to

3.      The Filing Fee is $155.

4.      Prepare a Motion for an Expedited Hearing. I allege the facts that my client will lose their job, the issue will be moot if not heard before 90 days, that the DMV did not follow their own rules in conducting a hearing that is supposed to substantially comply with fairness and due process, and I allege that my client will most likely prevail on the issues.

5.      Send a form letter requesting the DMV to stay the suspension during the appeal period. You will get a form letter back saying “sorry, no dice.” However, the Attorney General cannot say that you did not exhaust all of your remedies.

6.      Sometime you can contact the Attorney General and ask for a stay, but the current AG has stopped giving those out freely. However, if the AG requests a continuance, request a stay of the suspension and the AG will usually agree to it.

7.      Prepare a Summons for the AG and an Acceptance of Service.

8.      This appeal has to be filed within 30 days of the Department’s decision pursuant to rule 53-3-223(8)(b).

9.      Once the appeal is filed, get on the phone with the clerk within a couple of days to get an expedited hearing scheduled. I have had good success with this in Weber, Davis, Box Elder, and Cache Counties. I have not had real good success with scheduling an expedited hearing in Salt Lake County because of the backlog of cases.

10. The Venue is in the District Court County where the offense occurred. See Rule 53-3-224.

11. The trial will be held by de novo review pursuant to rule 63-46b-15(1)(a).

If the citizen refused to blow and has an 18 month suspension, the AG has somewhat of a consistent practice of reducing the 18 month suspension to a 90 day suspension if the citizen will walk in and plead guilty to the DUI. However, if it is determined that this is the best route for the citizen, get the arrangement in writing from the AG.

I have had a lot of success in appealing my cases to the District Court where an attorney is allowed to cross examine the officer, present a full case, and is allowed to have all the evidence including the supplemental reports and videos. 


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