Interviewer: You’ve touched on this just a bit concerning the DMV as well as the actual court case. Once someone’s arrested and they’re put inside a police car, will their license be taken away at that moment?
Your License Will Not be Seized by the Police
Michael: No. The D.C. police, they do not seize a license. They cannot seize a license.
Even if you’re licensed to drive in the District of Columbia, they cannot take your license, because the suspension or the revocation is not automatic. It’s not automatic upon arrest because you have a period of time to request a hearing. If you’re licensed to drive in D.C., you have 10 days to request a hearing from the date of your arrest. If you’re licensed outside of D.C., you have 15 days. During that grace period your privileges to drive in D.C. are intact.
There is One Exception to The Rule
The only way you would face an automatic revocation is if you’re served with a notice, you just decide, “I’m not going to request a hearing,” time runs out, either 10 days or 15 days, and that’s when it becomes automatic. But it’s not automatic at the time of arrest. They cannot take your license, because you’re still allowed to drive after the arrest.