Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Case of the Week: 1/9/06

County: Grant
Age: 64

This client contacted us because his administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles has been postponed. Our client was pulled over for drinking and driving. His attorney was able to get a favorable outcome in the criminal case since our client was not under the influence of alcohol; however, his administrative case to determine wether his driving privileges should be suspended has not happened yet because the arresting officer is currently serving in Iraq. Our client wanted to know his due process and administrative due process rights. I researched the issue for him and explained that although the WV Supreme Court has stated a driver's license is a property interest within the protection of the WV Due Process Clause, the commissioner under the Code of State Rules may postpone a hearing upon his own motion for good cause. Since the arresting officer, who is crucial to the hearing, will not be available, then the commission has the authority to postpone. Also, since our client still has his driving privileges, he is not being harmed by the delay. Our client is low income and the research we provided is quite valuable to him as it would have cost quite a bit to have a private attorney do the same research.

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