| Read Time: 3 minutes | DUI

If you are arrested for a DUI in Arizona, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended unless you act immediately. In this article, we will discuss the different types of license suspensions and how to fight them. We will also provide information on the steps you need to take after a DUI arrest to protect your driving privileges.

Arizona DUI & License Suspensions

In Arizona, driving is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, if you are caught driving while impaired, you face an automatic 90-day suspension of your license, pursuant to A.R.S. § 28.1385. This is referred to as an Admin Per Se suspension. The officer who stops you is required to serve an order of suspension on you, which will become effective after 15 days.

An Admin Per Se suspension occurs if any of the following is present:

  • BAC results of 0.08 or higher
  • BAC results are 0.04 or more and you were driving a commercial vehicle
  • BAC test results are unavailable
  • A drug is found in your system

Once you are served with the order of suspension, you only have 15 days to request a hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (“MVD”) where an Administrative Law Judge will hear your case. If you do not request a hearing within the 15-day time, your license will remain suspended for 90 days, regardless of the outcome of the criminal matter.

In addition, if you fail to request the hearing within the time limits, you give up your right to challenge the suspension with the MVD.

Note: Once you request the hearing with the MVD, the suspension is “stayed”, meaning that you may continue to drive until after your hearing. You can check the current status of your license by visiting https://azmvdnow.gov/home and registering an account.

How Long Will the DUI Suspension Last?

There are two types of driving suspensions

In Arizona, if you consent to provide a breath test or a blood test following a DUI arrest, then your license will typically be suspended for 90-days. During this period of time, you may be eligible for a restricted license after the first 30 days of the suspension, which will usually allow you to drive to and from your home and your work or school (along with other specific locations). 

If you fail to provide a breath or blood sample, then ADOT will likely attempt to revoke your license for a year (12 months). If this is the second time that you have refused to provide a chemical test following a DUI arrest within 84 months, then the automatic suspension will be for 24 months.

Note: If you are facing a DUI license suspension, you may be able to obtain a restricted license for part of your suspension. After the first 30 days of a 90-day suspension, you can get a restricted license that allows you to drive to limited locations, including, work, school or a doctor’s office. You must first complete an alcohol evaluation/screening by a certified agency before you will be granted a restricted license.

Defenses at the Motor Vehicle Department Hearing

There are several defenses that can be raised at your hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. You can make several arguments, including

  • Your BAC did not exceed 0.08%
  • There was no probable cause to stop you
  • The breathalyzer was not administered properly or was not working properly
  • You were driving with a lawfully prescribed drug in your system

Will your license be automatically reinstated after a DUI suspension?

No. You must have your license reinstated after you complete your suspension. You can apply for reinstatement at any local MVD office or online at https://servicearizona.com/

You will also have to pay a reinstatement fee. 

An experienced DUI attorney can not only handle the DUI charge but can also represent you at the MVD hearing.

Author Photo

Stewart Salwin

Stewart Salwin is the founder and lead attorney at Salwin Law Group, a criminal defense law firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona, just outside of the greater Phoenix area. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, where he was taught criminal law by world-renowned defense attorneys.

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