| Read Time: 3 minutes | DUI

If you are arrested for a DUI in Arizona, your license is automatically suspended. This is true even if you have not yet been convicted of the crime. In some cases, you may be able to get a restricted license that will allow you to drive to work or school. In this article, we will explain what happens to your license after you have been charged with a DUI.

Do you get your license suspended after a DUI in Arizona?

Your license will be taken if you are charged with a DUI and any of the circumstances exist:

  • 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

In Arizona, if you are charged with a DUI, the officer will take your license and give you an admin per se form. The form will serve as your driver’s license for the next 15 days. ARS 28-1385 gives the state authority to suspend your license. It is referred to as the admin per se law.

The initial suspension is from the Motor Vehicle Department (“MVD”), and not the court. That means, the suspension occurs regardless of any criminal conviction. If you are convicted of the DUI, you may also face suspension of your license through the court.

Is your license suspended immediately after a DUI?

No. You are given a 15-day grace period during which you can continue to drive. However, you must request a hearing with the MVA within 15 days or you may give up your right to do so. If you do nothing, the suspension will go into effect.

How to request a hearing with the MVD

You can stop the automatic suspension by requesting a hearing with the MVD. You can make a written request for a hearing with the MVA by submitting the request via email, fax or mailing the request. Once you make the request, it will stop the suspension from going into effect until your hearing.

Types of MVD Hearings

There are three different types of hearings at the MVD.

  • Administrative Per Se: This hearing involves certain issues surrounding the charge. The agency will ensure that the police had reasonable suspicion that you were impaired, determine if your BAC was 0.08 or above, and will ensure the accuracy of the chemical test given.
  • Implied Consent: An implied consent hearing applies if you refused to provide a blood or breath sample voluntarily after you were stopped. The only issue to be decided is whether you were driving or in “actual physical control” of the vehicle, and whether you refused to cooperate by providing a chemical test.
  • Negligent Operator: This hearing looks at your entire points record. If you have points on your record from other traffic violations, the DUI may increase your points enough and you will face a more severe punishment.

What Happens at the MVD Hearing 

An MVD hearing is a civil hearing that is less formal than a criminal action. There is no jury and an Administrative Law Judge decides the issues. The standard is less than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that a criminal court relies on. The burden at the MVD hearing is a “preponderance of the evidence.” That is a “more likely than not” type of standard.

The arresting officer is present at the hearing, along with your attorney (or yourself if not represented) and the Administrative Law Judge. The arresting officer will provide testimony about the arrest and any tests administered, and their results. Your attorney will have an opportunity to cross-examine the officer as well and may be able to obtain conflicting testimony that can be used at the criminal hearing.

After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will make a decision.

After the MVD Hearing

If the judge upholds the suspension, you will usually start the suspension within 30 days. If the hearing was an admin per se hearing, your license will be suspended for 90 days. An implied consent hearing will result in result in a 12-month suspension.

You may be able to regain some driving privileges after the first 30 days of an admin per se suspension if you complete alcohol screening from an approved agency. In implied consent hearings, you can become eligible for restricted driving after 90 days of your suspension, but you will have to pay to have an ignition interlock device installed and maintained on your vehicle.

Consult with a DUI Attorney 

The first step after a DUI arrest is to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer will be able to inform you of your rights and help you decide the best course of action.

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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