Inside the courtroom for the Office of State Administrative Hearings, “What did I do wrong?,” the officer asked me, walking out of the courtroom. You messed up the implied consent notice. So, my client won his license back. He would have lost it for a full year. No permits allowed. But, the real win is the 44 page transcript that I have now because we brought a private court reporter. Page 8 is where the officer messed up technically. And, Page 8 is where I began cross-examination.
Earlier that day I called the officer up on the phone. “Officer, this is Jason Cerbone, how are you?” “I’m good.” Well, we’ve got the administrative license suspension hearing in one hour. Will you please withdraw the suspension?” “What?” “Will you drop the suspension?” “Well, does your client want to plead guilty?” No, we’ll plead down to a non-DUI charge. And if he loses the suspension hearing today, we’ll file a demand for Speedy jury trial, because he needs his license.” See you in one hour.
I told my client that we would probably lose the suspension hearing because if the officer knows his stuff than it’s pretty easy to win for him. But, we won. Never underestimate the power of the courtroom drama. Cross-Examination, Objections, Confusion, and Bam! It’s over like that. Things can happen so fast that even the officer is clueless, and sometimes you’ll win and the officer will ask, “What did I do wrong?”
What the officer did wrong doesn’t matter much. Win or lose, the facts developed and captured on the transcript is the big win. I’ll take that any day. 44 pages of fact hell for a DUI case, and none of it would ever come out unless we challenged the license suspension and had a hearing.
The ALS hearing opens a second legal front for us to battle your case.
The DUI criminal case and the ALS license suspension case must be handled together with strategy. As I’ve become a DUI specialist, I understand the way they work together. Ultimately the ideal is that I know how to challenge this “hard suspension” to try and keep my clients driving while their DUI criminal case moves through the system.
In this case, the License suspension was reversed because the police officer failed to establish that at the time of the request for the test or tests that the arresting officer properly informed my client of his implied consent rights and the consequences of submitting or refusing to submit to a state-administered chemical test.