MVD Suspensions

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Arizona MVD Suspensions & Vehicular Crimes

MVD: What You Should Know About Hearings, Suspensions, Revocations, Restrictions & The Point System

DEFINITIONS

1.)     “Revocation” means the removal of your privilege to drive in Arizona.  Upon  conviction for certain driving offenses, the law requires that MVD revoke your driver’s license.  Once your revocation period has ended, your driving privilege will remain revoked until you affirmatively take steps to reinstate your driver’s license and MVD conducts an investigation.  MVD will investigate to determine that all withdrawal actions have concluded, and that all statutory requirements are met.  You will be required to pay the appropriate application fee and a $20 reinstatement fee, and you may be required to file a an SR-22.  MVD may also require a written, vision and road test.

2.)     “Suspension” means the temporary removal of your driving privilege in Arizona.  It is an action that may be taken after a review of your driving record. The suspension remains in effect until application for reinstatement is made. In addition to the reinstatement fee, you must pay the appropriate license application fee for your age group.

3.)     “Preponderance of the Evidence” means that the proof offered establishes  the proposition is more likely to be true than not true.

4.)     “Driver Improvement” refers to the department within the MVD responsible for both identifying those drivers who are not driving responsibly and deciding whether to correct their behavior or to remove their privilege to drive in Arizona.

5.)     “Traffic Survival School” (TSS) should not be confused with Defensive Driving School and is administered through the Arizona Supreme Court.  TSS is designed to reach individuals who have exhibited a disregard for traffic laws and the safety of others.  TSS attempts to modify the behavior of these drivers by teaching them how to avoid adverse traffic situations by increasing their knowledge of Arizona traffic laws, defining their responsibilities while driving, and most importantly, improving their attitude toward safe driving.

6.)    “Defensive Driving School” (DDS) is a court administered program which presents traffic safety classes through court certified commercial schools.  DDS is not TSS, a student driver program, or an adult course for practical hands on training.  Drivers attend the DDS program to avoid an assessment of points against their motor vehicle record.

7.)     “Resident” means, for purposes of having to immediately obtain an Arizona vehicle registration and driver license, you if any of the following apply:   

a)      you work in Arizona (other than for seasonal agricultural work);

b)      you are registered to vote in Arizona;

c)      you place children in school without paying the tuition rate of a nonresident;

d)     you have a business that has an office in Arizona, and that bases and operates vehicles in this state;

e)      you obtain a state license or pay school tuition fees at the same rate as an Arizona resident;

f)       you have a business that operates vehicles to transport goods or passengers within Arizona; or

g)      you remain in Arizona for a total of 7 months or more during any calendar year, regardless of your permanent residence.

Note:  Out-of-state students enrolled with 7 or more semester hours, are not considered Arizona residents, regardless of employment.  Active duty military personnel based in Arizona who qualify for exemption under the Service Members Civil Relief Act of 2003 are also not considered Arizona residents.

MVD Hearings

MVD hearings are administrative or civil hearings held before the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division.  An administrative hearing lacks the formality of a criminal trial or hearing, i.e., the Rules of Evidence do not apply, crucially important decisions regarding your ability to drive will be made at conference room table, etc.  The State has the burden to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the suspension of your driver’s license or privilege to drive should be upheld.  The MVD hearing provides an important opportunity for you to challenge an Order or Decision of MVD which adversely affects your driver’s license or privilege to drive in Arizona.

DUI HEARINGS

Ordinarily, if the arresting officer knows your BAC or alleges you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, the officer will immediately serve you with an Administrative Per Se Affidavit or an Implied Consent Affidavit.  This affidavit contains an Order of Suspension that begins fifteen (15) days later.  The Officer will immediately forward the Affidavit to MVD requesting that the Department suspend your driver’s license.  A timely request for a hearing will stay the suspension until after the MVD convenes a hearing.

Legal Notice:  All hearing requests must be in writing and must be received in the Executive Hearing Office no more than 15 days after the date of the Notice or Order which you wish to appeal.  If you mail your hearing request, MVD will add an additional three (3) days to the filing period.

After receiving a timely request for a hearing, the MVD will schedule either an Administrative Per Se Hearing or an Implied Consent Hearing depending on your situation.  The MVD will subpoena the Officer to appear and testify against you.  You are entitled to and absolutely should be represented by an attorney at the hearing.  You need an experienced attorney to aggressively cross-examine the Officer, present evidence in your behalf, and persuasively argue that the MVD should void the proposed suspension.  The bottom line is that you may suffer the consequences of losing your driver’s license or privilege to drive long after your DUI case has concluded.

Warning:  If you are running late for your hearing, you must call the Executive Hearing Office before you are late and inform the Administrative Law Judge.  Otherwise, you risk losing the hearing by default – your failure to timely appear.

ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE HEARINGS

The purpose of the Administrative Per Se Hearing is for the Administrative Law Judge to determine whether to uphold or void not less than a ninety (90) day suspension of your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive.  By design, the scope of the Administrative Per Se hearing will include only:

1.         Whether the officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving or were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor;

2.         Whether you were was placed under arrest for a DUI offense;

3.         Whether the results of any test you submitted to indicated your BAC was 0.08 or more, or 0.04 or more if you were driving or in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle;

4.         Whether the testing method used was valid and reliable; and

5.         Whether the test results were accurately evaluated.

If the MVD upholds the ninety (90) day suspension of your driver’s license, you may be eligible for a restricted permit.  Although, there is no restricted permit available for the first thirty (30) days, the MVD may issue a restricted permit for the final sixty (60) consecutive days of the suspension.  The permit allows you  to travel between (a) your place of employment and residence and for work purposes; (b) your residence and your secondary or postsecondary school; (c) your residence and the office of your probation officer for scheduled appointments; or (d) your residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.  To qualify for this permit you must (i) not have caused a death or a serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 to another person during the course of conduct out of which the current action arose; (ii) not have been convicted of a prior DUI offense within eighty-four months of the date of commission of the acts out of which the current action arose; (iii) not have had your privilege to drive Administrative Per Se or Implied Consent suspended within eighty-four months of the date of commission of the acts out of which the current action arose; and (iv) provide satisfactory evidence to the MVD of your completion of alcohol or other drug screening.

Defenses to Administrative Per Se Suspensions:

1.         Officer lacked reasonable grounds to believe you were DUI.

2.         Officer failed to place you under arrest.

3.         Test results showed an alcohol concentration below 0.08 BAC.

4.         Chemical test was unreliable.

5.         Test results were not accurately evaluated.

Expungement of Administrative Per Se Suspensions – A.R.S. §28-3004(b):

You may be eligible to remove the Administrative Per Se suspension from motor vehicle record if, after reinstating your driver license and/or privilege to drive, you provide the MVD with a certified copy of the dismissal order or not guilty judgment.  You will ineligible for expungement if you are adjudged responsible for a moving violation during the suspension period.

IMPLIED CONSENT HEARINGS – REFUSALS & DEFENSES

Regardless of whether you are a resident or non-resident, if you operate a motor vehicle in this state, then the law regards you as having impliedly given consent to a test or tests of your blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or drug content if you are arrested for any DUI related offense.  The purpose of the Implied Consent Hearing is for the Administrative Law Judge to determine whether to uphold or void not less than a one (1) year suspension of your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive.  If the suspension at issue is your second implied consent suspension and the MVD upholds it, your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive will be suspended for two (2) years.   Accordingly, the scope of the Implied Consent hearing is limited to the following:

1.)        Whether the Officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you were DUI, or if you are under twenty-one (21) years of age, that you were driving with spirituous liquor in your body;

2.)        Whether you were placed under arrest;

3.)        Whether you refused to submit to the test; and

4.)        Whether you were informed of the consequences of refusal.

If the MVD upholds the Implied Consent suspension of your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive and imposes a one (1) year suspension, you may still be eligible to obtain a restricted driver’s license.  After completing not less than ninety (90) consecutive days of the one (1) year suspension and any alcohol or other drug screening that MVD will require, you may apply to the MVD for a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License (“SIIRDL”) pursuant to A.R.S. §28-1401.  If MVD issues you a SIIRDL, you must maintain a functioning certified ignition interlock device for the remainder of the one (1) year suspension.

Legal Notice:  You are not, however, eligible for the SIIRDL if within a period of eighty-four months: (a) your driving privilege is suspended for a second or subsequent refusal; or (b) you have been convicted of a second or subsequent  DUI, OUI, Underage Drinking and Driving, or an act in another jurisdiction that if committed in Arizona would constitute one of these offenses.

Defenses to Implied Consent Suspensions:

 1.         Officer lacked reasonable grounds to believe you were DUI.

2.         Officer failed to place you under arrest.

3.         Officer failed to adequately explain the consequences of refusal.

4.         You are unconscious, and therefore incapable of refusal.

5.         You timely recant your earlier refusal.

6.         Making a good faith request to speak with an attorney and declining to submit to the test until you speak with an attorney.

7.         A deficient sample, without non-cooperation or gamesmanship, is insufficient to show a failure to successfully complete a test.

8.         Refusal of something not required for completing the test (i.e., disobeying nonessential instructions, refusing to sign a waiver of liability for the blood draw, etc.) is not a refusal.

. . .

Notwithstanding that the MVD’s decision to suspend your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive is final, you still have two options for relief.  First, within twenty (20) days of the hearing, if the Administrative Law Judge ruled at that time, or the mailing date of the Decision and Order of Suspension, you may file a Motion for Re-hearing with MVD.  Second, you may appeal the Decision and Order of Suspension to the Superior Court within thirty (30) days of the issuance of the Decision and Order of Suspension or the denial of the Motion for Re-hearing. This appeal is actually a civil lawsuit filed against the MVD requesting the Superior Court review the administrative hearing record to determine whether the Administrative Law Judge made any errors in applying the law.

MVD POINTS SYSTEM

In Arizona, the MVD may suspend or revoke your driver’s license or require you to attend and successfully complete an approved Traffic Survival School if MVD’s records or other sufficient evidence shows that you have been convicted of, or adjudged to have, committed traffic violations with such a frequency that it indicates a disrespect for traffic laws and a disregard for the safety of other people on the highways.  (See A.R.S. §28-3306(A)(3)).  This essentially means the MVD will assess points against your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive for each moving violation that results in a conviction or judgment.  The MVD will assign points as prescribed in the Driver Point Valuation Table below.

Following the assignment of points to your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive, the MVD may take action against you.  Simply, the MVD will begin by adding up the number of points you have accumulated in a twelve (12) month period and a thirty-six (36) month period, respectively.  Both the twelve (12) month and thirty-six (36) month time frames are measured from the date of your last moving violation that resulted in a conviction or judgment.

For purposes of the MVD’s calculation of your points over a twelve (12) month period, if you accumulate between eight (8) and twelve (12) points and have not attended TSS within the last twenty-four (24) months, then MVD will assign you to complete TSS in lieu of suspending your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive.  On the other hand, if you have attended TSS within the last twenty-four (24) months, then the MVD suspend your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive for three (3) months.  If you accumulate between thirteen (13) and seventeen (17) points, then the MVD will suspend your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive for three (3) months.  If you accumulate between eighteen (18) and twenty-three (23) points, then the MVD will suspend your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive for six (6) months.

For purposes of the MVD’s calculation of your points over a thirty-six (36) month period, if you accumulate twenty-four points, then the MVD will suspend your driver’s license and/or privilege to drive for one (1) year.

Warning: The MVD will not issue a restricted permit for any points suspension. Nonetheless, in some circumstances and with the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to persuade the MVD to convert the points suspension to a TSS assignment based upon a “piling up of points.”

JUVENILES

JUVENILES

In Arizona, the MVD will suspend a juvenile’s driver license and/or privilege to drive far more harshly if the driver is under the age of eighteen (18) years.

Suspensions for Juveniles Under 18

Offense Suspension Period
1st Possession of Alcohol – A.R.S. § 4-244(9) Up to 180 days – Court ordered
2nd or Subsequent Possession of Alcohol – A.R.S. § 4-244(9) 2 Years or Until 18th Birthday – Court Ordered
Underage Drink & Drive – A.R.S. § 4-244(33) 2 Years
DUI – A.R.S. § 28-1381 2 Years
Extreme DUI – A.R.S. § 28-1381 2 Years
Aggravated DUI – A.R.S. § 28-1383 3 Years
Criminal Damage/Defacing Property – A.R.S. §13-602(A)(1) Until 18th Birthday
Graffiti – A.R.S. §13-1602(A)(5) Until 18th Birthday
Aggravated Criminal Damage – A.R.S. §13-604(A) Until 18th Birthday
Theft – A.R.S. § 13-1802 Until 18th Birthday
Unlawful Use of Means of Transportation – A.R.S. § 13-1803 Until 18th Birthday
Theft of Means of Transportation – A.R.S. § 13-1814 Until 18th Birthday
Drug Offenses – Title 13, Chapter 34 (any provision) Until 18th Birthday
Any statute or ordinance involving purchase or possession of materials used for graffiti Until 18th Birthday

With regard to civil traffic violations, if you are under the age of eighteen (18), the MVD will deviate from the Driver Point Valuation Table  and impose more harsh penalties for moving violations that result in a conviction or judgment.

Offense Suspension Period
First Violation Traffic Survival School
Second Violation 3 Months
Third or Subsequent Violation 6 Months

Warning:  For your first violation, if you have not previously completed Defensive Driving School, you really should consider doing so to avoid the risk of the Court finding you responsible and the MVD imposing any consequences against your driver license and/or privilege to drive.

Suspensions for Juveniles 18, 19 or 20

If you are eighteen (18), nineteen (19), or twenty (20) years of age, the Arizona MVD will generally suspend or revoke your driver license and/or privilege to drive in the same manner as any other adult, including without limitation under the Driver Point Valuation Table above.  If, however,  you have been convicted of Underage Drinking and Driving in violation of A.R.S. §4-244(33), the MVD will suspend your driver license and/or privilege to drive for two (2) years.

SPECIAL IGNITION INTERLOCK RESTRICTED DRIVER LICENSE (“SIIRDL”)

Under certain circumstances, the SIIRDL is a meaningful way to mitigate the impact of a lengthy suspension of your driver license and/or privilege to drive.  Essentially, the SIIRDL is a restricted driver license that allows you to drive for a portion of the period of suspension, in one of only four (4) circumstances and if you meet the criteria for eligibility.

  1. Eligibility Requirements:

a)      Implied Consent:  If the MVD has suspended your driver license and/or privilege to drive for a period of one (1) year under Arizona’s Implied Consent law, you must (i) serve the first ninety (90) days of the suspension; (ii) not have been previously implied consent suspended; (iii) provide proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22); and (iv) must not have any other active suspensions of your driver license and/or privilege to drive.

b)      Aggravated DUI (Child Under 15 in the Vehicle):  If the MVD has revoked your driver license and/or privilege to drive for a period of three (3) years due to your conviction for Aggravated DUI (child under 15 in the vehicle), you must (i) have served an Administrative Per Se suspension; (ii) have never been convicted of Aggravated DUI (child under 15 in the vehicle); (iii) provide proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22); (iv) must not have any other active suspensions of your driver license and/or privilege to drive; and (v) provide proof of completion of any mandatory alcohol treatment classes.

c)      Juvenile Under the Age of 18: If you have been convicted of Underage Drinking and Driving or a DUI offense, you must: (i) provide proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22); (ii) must not have any other active suspensions of your driver license and/or privilege to drive; and (iii) the Court must order the MVD to issue the SIIRDL.

d)     Juvenile – Age 18, 19, or 20 Years of Age:  If you have been convicted of Underage Drinking and Driving , you must: (i) provide proof of future financial responsibility (SR-22); (ii) must not have any other active suspensions of your driver license and/or privilege to drive; and (iii) the Court must order the MVD to issue the SIIRDL.

  1. Scope of the SIIRDL:

a)      You may drive between your place of employment and residence during specified periods of time while at employment.

b)      You may drive between your residence, place of employment, and your secondary or postsecondary school according to your work and school schedule respectively.

c)      You may drive between your place of employment and a treatment or screening facility for scheduled appointments.

d)     You may drive between your residence and the office of your probation officer for scheduled appointments.

e)      You may drive between your residence and the office of a physician or other healthcare professional.

f)       You may drive between your residence and a certified ignition interlock service facility.

  1. Expiration of SIIRDL:  The SIIRDL expires on the same ending date of your suspension or revocation.

TRAFFIC SURVIVIAL SCHOOL

The Arizona MVD requires you to complete TSS in a few circumstances:

  1. If you have been convicted or adjudged responsible for violating any of the following statutes: A.R.S. §28-645(A)(2))a) – Red Light Violation; A.R.S. §28-647(1) – Flashing Red Light Violation; A.R.S. §28-672(A) – Causing Death or Serious Physical Injury; or A.R.S. §28-695(A) – Aggressive Driving.
  2. If you have accumulated eight (8) to twelve (12) points.
  3. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), upon the report of your first conviction for a moving criminal or civil traffic violation.
SR-22

An SR-22 is a guarantee to the MVD both that you are insured for at least minimum liability coverage, and that your insurance company will notify the MVD anytime your insurance coverage lapses.  Basically, the MVD requires you to obtain an SR-22 upon receipt of reports of various DUI related convictions and no proof of insurance convictions.  In short, for these offenses, the MVD will require you to have an SR-22 as a condition of having a valid driver license and/or privilege to drive for a period of three (3) years.

The Nolan Law Firm is a leading DUI and criminal defense firm serving Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and throughough Arizona. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Nolan Law Firm have presented at Continuing Legal Education seminars on a variety of MVD topics since 2004. When your future is on the line, call The Nolan Law Firm

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