Dolin v. Roberts

In Dolin v. Roberts, 173 W. Va. 443, 317 S.E.2d 802 (1984), the Court addressed the issue of a twenty-week delay between a motorist's arrest for DUI and the suspension of his license. In Dolin, the arresting officer submitted an affidavit of the motorist's arrest to the Commissioner within twenty-four hours, as required by W. Va. Code 17C-5A-1(b). As a result of technical problems with the officer's affidavit, the Commissioner did not notify the motorist of the suspension of his license until some twenty weeks after the arrest. The motorist subsequently obtained a writ of prohibition from a circuit court that prevented the Commissioner from holding a hearing to finalize the suspension. The circuit court found that the delay, among other things, violated the motorist's due process rights. The Commissioner appealed the decision. The Court reversed. In doing so, the Court applied principles developed in criminal law. Specifically, the Court held in Dolin that "'the effect of less gross delays upon a defendant's due process rights must be determined by a trial court by weighing the reasons for delay against the impact of the delay upon the defendant's ability to defend himself.'"