License Hearings and Suspensions in Arizona
BAC testing (Implied Consent Law)
If you drive a motor vehicle in the state of Arizona, you have already given consent to have your breath, blood, urine, or other bodily substances tested, in order that law enforcement may determine alcohol concentration or drug content if you should be arrested for DUI (this is called the ‘Implied Consent Law’).
If the investigating officer has reason to believe you were driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer has the authority to determine what type of test is done, and the power to administer the test.
If you do not submit to the test, or successfully complete it, your license will be suspended for twelve (12) months for a first refusal, or for two (2) years for a second refusal within a period of eighty-four (84) months. Prior to the test you must be informed that if the result is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more (or .04 or more for a commercial vehicle), you license will be suspended for at least 90 (ninety) consecutive days.
What happens to my driver’s license?
If you successfully complete a blood or breath test and the result is .08 or more (or .04 or more if you have a commercial driver’s license), your driving privileges will be suspended for ninety (90) days. As long as you did not cause serious physical injury to another person and you have not been convicted of a DUI or had a DUI suspension in the past eighty-four (84) months, you are entitled to a reduced punishment of a thirty (30) day license suspension and a sixty (60) day restricted license. A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work and/or school, medical appointments, and counseling sessions.
Can I challenge the suspension?
If the suspension is determined to be warranted, it will commence fifteen (15) days from the date it was issued. The suspension will be stayed (put on hold) if you request a summary review or a hearing within fifteen (15) days from the date it was issued. If you are granted a summary review, you will have to submit a written argument to explain why your license should not be suspended. Your driving privileges will remain in effect for at least twenty (20) days from the date of the request. The written argument will be reviewed without a hearing, and you will be notified within twenty (20) days of the request.
If you request a hearing, your suspension is stayed (put on hold) and you will have a valid license until the day of the hearing. At the hearing, the state must prove that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence, the officer placed you under arrest, and that a valid test was completed and result was a BAC of .08 or more (or .04 or more with a commercial vehicle).
Will my license be automatically reinstated following a suspension?
No, driving privileges are not automatically reinstated following a period of suspension. You must complete paperwork and pay a fee to be reinstated. This is especially important, because if you commit another driving offense while your license is still technically ‘suspended’, you could be subject to stiffer penalties for that offense.
What is a Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) hearing?
A MVD hearing is a civil proceeding in order to determine if your license is to be suspended. This hearing will usually occur before a criminal trial. If the state does not meet its burden of proof your driving privileges will not be suspended. However, a conviction in the criminal portion of the DUI charge will result in a suspension for the same time period that would have been ordered if the state had met its burden at the MVD hearing.
What is a subsequent revocation?
If you are convicted of a second DUI charge within eighty-four (84) months of the first one, you will have your driving privileges revoked for a period of not less than one (1) year. If you are convicted of aggravated DUI, you will be subjected to a three (3) year revocation. Reinstatement following this kind of revocation is much more difficult, and requires an investigation into your character, habits, driving abilities, and an evaluation by a physician or substance abuse counselor indicating you are safely able to operate a motor vehicle.
What is SR-22 insurance?
An SR-22 is a proof of financial responsibility and required after most DUI arrests and subsequent license suspensions. Your insurance company is required to notify the MVD if your insurance is cancelled, to insure that a ‘high risk’ driver maintains constant insurance. In the majority of cases, an SR-22 will last for three years.
What happens if I do not submit to BAC testing?
If you refuse the BAC test, under Arizona’s Implied Consent Law, the test will either not be given, or the police officer will obtain a search warrant to forcibly draw your blood. The officer will then file a certified report with the Department of Motor Vehicles, and then serve you will an order of suspension that is effective fifteen (15) days after the date the order was served. If you challenge the suspension, a hearing request must be made within fifteen (15) days. If not, your license will go into automatic suspension and you will not be able to challenge it.
What is a Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) hearing for a refusal?
At the refusal hearing, the state must prove that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence, the officer placed you under arrest, that you refused to successfully complete a chemical test and that you were advised of the twelve (12) month suspension for refusing the test.