DMV Refusal Hearings

Refusal hearings are usually conducted at a DMV office before an Administrating Law Judge. The following must be established:

  • Did the police officer have reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence or while your ability was impaired?
  • Did the police officer make a lawful arrest?
  • Were you given sufficient warning, in clear or unequivocal language, prior to the refusal, that the refusal to submit to the chemical test would result in the immediate suspension and subsequent revocation of yours license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in New York?
  • Did you, after reasonable grounds have been shown, then refuse to submit to a chemical test?

After the refusal hearing is completed, if the ALJ “finds on any one of said issues in the negative, the hearing officer shall immediately terminate any suspension arising from such refusal.”

On the other hand if after the Refusal Hearing, the hearing officer “finds all of the issues in the affirmative, such officer shall immediately revoke the license or permit to drive or any non-resident operating privilege”.

The ALJ will admit the notice to appear into evidence as the first exhibit, the second piece of evidence will be the Refusal Report that the Police Officer filled out.  Once any evidence is presented, there will be an opportunity for cross examination.  Once the refusal hearing is completed, the Administrative Law Judge can render a decision immediately, or reserve judgment.

The burden of proof at the refusal hearing is clear and convincing evidence.  On the first date of the refusal hearing, the Police Officer who arrested you will be given an opportunity to present his or her case. If the Police Officer does not appear at the refusal hearing, then the ALJ will adjourn the hearing and give the Police Officer an opportunity to appear. In the interim, your drivers license will be returned.