What is a Show Cause Hearing?

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On February 25, 2018

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If you have a DUI and received an “Order for Show Cause” in the mail, contact your lawyer immediately. If you do not have a lawyer, retain one.  Having representation that can help you is critical.  This notice was strictly sent to you because the judge believes that you are in violation of an agreement that you made with the court.  You could have violated something like Diversion, or the conditions of a probation that you have been sentenced to serve. The notice you received does one thing: it requires you to return to court to address the allegation.  In plain English, this means you must “show cause” as to why your probation or Diversion eligibility shouldn’t be revoked. Most notices are very time-sensitive, and if it is decided you are unable to stay in the Diversion program, two things will happen:

  1. You will be convicted of a DUI.
  2. You will be subjected to the original maximum DUI penalties.

Why Would a Judge Decide Diversion Should be Revoked in a Show Cause Hearing?

If the judge decides you are ineligible to continue with your initial agreement, all original agreements can be revoked.  Sometimes, a significantly larger jail sentence could be ordered as well. Common reasons for a judge to revoke your Diversion Program participation include (but are certainly not limited) to:

  • Alcohol detection or a “bad blow” from your IID (ignition interlock device).
  • A clerical error (this definitely happens!) made by your treatment agency or court.
  • Receiving a new DUI charge.
  • A poor Urine Analysis test result due to alcohol detection or other banned controlled substances.
  • Excessive absence from your mandatory drug and alcohol classes.
  • Failure to show up to your show cause hearing.  This can cause an automatic diversion revocation and/or a warrant issued for your arrest

What Should I do if I Have a Diversion Agreement and Receive an “Order for Show Cause” in the Mail?

You never want to receive an “Order for Show Cause” notice in the mail because the consequences that can come from it can be devastating. Period.

If you do receive this notice, take this seriously and act quickly because timing is often short.  It is your job to seek legal counsel, and you should do it with a sense of urgency.  If there are any errors, an attorney can correct them on your behalf.  An attorney can also help you get back on track if you actually did violate an agreement you made with the court, and prove to the judge that you deserve a second chance to remain eligible for Diversion.  If the State proves you violated your agreement and your eligibility for Diversion should be revoked, you will be subject to a number of penalties.  Consequences can include more fines and suspension of your driver’s license.  It can also include up to 12 months in prison, up to 5 years on probation, and other penalties.

When you hire a Reynolds Defense Firm attorney to address your order for show cause notice, it shows you are taking matters seriously.  The penalties that result from an unfavorable Show Cause hearing are high, and avoidance or failure to appear in Court could result in a warrant for your arrest.  Don’t forget, this is a time sensitive matter and the window to handle a violation charge is small.  Not only will our DUI attorneys keep negative consequences to a minimum by fighting for you in court, but they’ll also help to make sure you stay on track.  If you or someone you know needs a DUI show cause lawyer due to getting a notice in the mail, please contact our office at 503.223.3422.  You can also fill our our digital contact form.


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