DUI arrests can lead to driver’s license suspensions or revocations. If you have been charged with a DUI, know that your license may be suspended even if your criminal charges are dismissed.
This is because people charged with DUIs in Arizona face two separate processes. There are criminal charges filed in criminal court and an administrative hearing through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. Driving on a suspended license can result in additional fines, suspensions or even jail time. As a result, it is imperative that you fully understand how a DUI arrest can affect your license.
When you are arrested for a DUI, most of the time an officer will give you a copy of the Admin Per Se/Implied Consent form. This form notifies you that your license can be suspended if you do not request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest. This time limit is very important and very difficult to change. If you miss your hearing request deadline, your license will become suspended automatically. Our DUI Attorneys file requests every day. It is a simple process and we would be glad to help you with it.
Many people decide to accept the initial suspension without requesting a hearing. This is certainly your right to do so, but there can be some advantages to conducting a hearing. Obviously the hearing request delays your suspension and allows you to make the necessary arrangements to survive without driving. From a legal perspective, the hearing gives a DUI attorney the opportunity to interview police officers under oath. Any helpful statements that they make can be used to file motions, prepare for trial, and impeach their credibility. In general it is typically wise to request a hearing.
While the hearings are in front of judges, the setting is very informal. Instead of a courtroom, the judges and witnesses conduct hearings in small offices. Defendants do not need to be present. Our DUI attorneys can waive your presence. The general information the judge wants is quite simple. In order to suspend your license for an Admin Per Se violation, a judge would need to find that you were driving a motor vehicle, you consumed alcohol, were offered a test, finished the test and the result was .08 or greater. The judge must also find that the blood or breath testing device was operating normally.
If you refused to take a blood or breath test, then the hearing is called an Implied Consent hearing. The Implied Consent hearing covers whether or not you were driving, drinking, offered a test properly, and whether or not you told the police officer that you wanted to submit to the test. If the test was never taken, the judge would also determine whether or not the failure to complete the test was your fault.
What happens if you “Win” your hearing? Unfortunately, if you “win” your hearing, you could still be suspended if you are found guilty for your DUI. What’s worse is that if you win your hearing and are found guilty later, you may not be eligible for a restricted to and from work permit. As a result, it may make sense for you to stipulate (or accept) your suspension, especially if it is likely that you will be found guilty of a DUI later.
If you have a prior DUI within 7 years, however, then it is never a good idea to stipulate to a suspension. The reason is a bit technical, but basically it puts you in a position where you could wind up with a longer suspension. Please feel free to contact our DUI attorneys for more information on this topic.