How to Stop the DOT from Suspending Your License after a DUI arrest.
It may be possible to stop the DOT from suspending your license after you have been arrested for a DUI. If you have filed the Department of Transportation (DOT) form requesting an “administrative suspension review hearing” before the 10 day deadline, you or your lawyer will have a chance to cross examine the officer who arrested you at an informal hearing held at the DOT. If, after the hearing, the DOT decides to suspend your license, your lawyer may be able to get a court order preventing that suspension.
About a week or so after the hearing, you should receive a notice from the DOT with their decision and a form to request a judicial review of their decision. Some judges believe that the statute governing this procedure prevents them from reviewing the DOT decision before the day of the trial. This is a common misinterpretation, by lawyers and judges alike. The confusion lies in a subtle distinction in the wording of the statute.
Wisconsin Statutes § 343.305(8)(c) does indeed provide that the review shall be heard at the time of the trial. The “review” described in subsection (8)(c), however, pertains to a judicial hearing held for the purposes of determining whether to rescind or sustain the administrative suspension. A “stay,” on the other hand, is a separate determination, made available to the court by subsection (8)(c)2, pending or in advance of the court’s decision to rescind or sustain the administrative suspension. Subsection (8)(c)2 provides, in relevant part:
The department shall vacate the administrative suspension under sub. (7) unless, within 60 days of the date of the request for judicial review of the administrative hearing decision, the department has been notified of the result of the judicial review or of an order of the court entering a stay of the hearing examiner’s order continuing the suspension.
Because the legal issues yet to be adjudicated in the underlying OWI (operating while intoxicated) charge may determine whether the suspension will be enforceable in the first place, Defense Attorney Sydne French has been able to persuade judges to sign a legal motion and order “staying” or temporarily preventing the DOT from administratively suspending your license until such time as a final determination may be made by the court at a judicial review hearing.