Every state in America will tell you that driving is a privilege – one that can be taken away at any time. Since the early 1900’s, we have been a nation of drivers. For us, driving feels like a right, not a privilege. Most of us do not want to face the very real possibility of not being able to drive. Unfortunately, there are many circumstances that can cause an American to lose their driving privileges. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of them.
If you are facing a DUI charge you are probably aware of the criminal complications involved. DUI charges can result in jail time, fines, community service, a criminal record and required installation of ignition interlock devices. All of these penalties can be challenging, but for many, a DUI charge is most damaging because of the license suspension.
In Arizona, license suspension is almost guaranteed for all DUI convictions. In addition, they are highly likely for DUI charges regardless of the final outcome. Arizona law allows the state the opportunity to make more than one attempt to suspend the license of a driver charged with a DUI. Initially, a license will be suspended through a civil procedure. If the driver is able to regain driving privileges, the license will again be suspended following a criminal court conviction.
When charged with a DUI in the state of Arizona, a license suspension will be the first thing to occur following the arrest. This initial suspension is handled by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. Generally speaking, Arizona MVD will suspend a license that has accumulated at least 8 points. Points can be accumulated for various reasons, but a DUI related charge carries 8 points. In comparison, you only receive 6 points for killing someone after running a red light or stop sign. Arizona regards DUI as a very serious crime, and will suspend the license of anyone guilty of it.
In addition to a license suspension due to a high blood alcohol level, licenses in Arizona can be suspended for refusing to take a blood alcohol level test. The length of suspension for a refusal is actually longer than suspension for a DUI, and it will be added on to any suspensions from DUI.
The Arizona Motor Vehicle License suspension is immediate, but drivers are given a 15 day grace period during which they can drive. At the arrest, the officer will confiscate the Arizona license and issue a temporary driving permit before the driver is released. The driver may use the temporary license any way they seem fit, but they only have 15 days to request an administrative hearing to either amend or dismiss the suspension. If they do not request the hearing in that time period, the automatic suspension will remain, regardless of the outcome of criminal proceedings.
Administrative hearings give a driver accused of DUI the chance to temporarily regain driving privileges. They are also known as administrative per se hearings. They are not automatic, and have to be requested in writing within 15 days of DUI arrest. The hearing is a civil proceeding, that an administrative law judge will preside over. It is separate from the criminal case and will be conducted in the county where the arrest occurred.
First time DUI offenders will face 90 days of license suspension, but can request a work permit after 30 days. Second time offenders will receive a license revocation of a year. Following the suspension period, those convicted of DUI will also be required to install an ignition interlock device.
If you are charged with a DUI in Arizona, your license will be suspended. In order to get it back you will need to attend an administrative hearing. Many Arizona DUI attorneys are able to assist with the administrative hearing, but there is a very short window of opportunity. If you need to stay driving a DUI attorney may just the help you need.