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Do you need to file a petition at the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings?

Do you need to file a petition at the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings?

After being arrested for DUI in South Carolina the police officer may give you a form entitled “Notice of Suspension.” This means that your license has already been suspended, before you’ve even gone to court! In order to avoid this mandatory suspension you’re required to petition the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings, or OMVH.

South Carolina’s implied consent law mandates an immediate and up-front suspension for those arrested for DUI in the following situations:

  • No breath sample was given
  • Upon request by the officer, no urine or blood test given
  • A breath sample of more than 0.15 was given

If anyone of these apply in your DUI you are facing a suspension of up to 6 months + mandatory completion of the ADSAP program (at your expense). This is even if your DUI is later dismissed.

The only way to avoid these penalties is to challenge the “Notice of Suspension” at the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. The OMVH is not a court. It’s an administrative hearing office that decides license issues on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The OMVH doesn’t decide if you’re guilty or not-guilty of DUI. Instead they focus on whether or not the officer complied with the implied consent law prior to giving you the “Notice of Suspension” form.

The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, files license restoration petitions with the OMVH on behalf of our DUI clients. Typically we hand-deliver the petitions immediately upon being retained so that our client’s driving privileges can be restored as quickly as possible.

Once the petition is filed it will be forwarded to the DMV for processing. Within a few business days the DMV will be ready to issue a new driving credential called the Temporary Alcohol License. It’s important that you don’t accidentally apply for a Route Restricted License instead. A Temporary Alcohol License gives you permission to travel anywhere in South Carolina 24/hours a day.

It's important to file this petition, even if you don’t need to drive right now. If you don’t file the petition then you are required to serve out the suspension period, and pay for and complete ADSAP no matter what happens in court later.

You’ll continue to use the Temporary Alcohol License until there is a hearing, and a written decision is issued. This is usually 60-90 days. Hearings aren’t held in court, and aren’t presided over by a judge. Hearings are conducted following the Rules of Procedure for the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings.

If you’ve been charged with DUI and have questions regarding your situation, you are invited to contact our office for a few case evaluation. To schedule yours call us at (888) 301-6004.


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