Arizona’s Admin Per Se Suspension for DUI.

Attorney Timothy Tobin, Expert Arizona Criminal DUI Defense Service

In Arizona, under ARS 28-1385, drivers arrested on suspicion of DUI may lose their Arizona driving privilege fifteen days after arrest. The Admin Per Se Suspension lasts for ninety days. This suspension is based on a BAC of .08, an illegal drug in the body, or a prescription drug in the body without a valid prescription.

During a DUI arrest, police may confiscate your Arizona driver’s license and serve you with the Admin Per Se form. (Note: Arizona police are not authorized to confiscate a license from another state; nevertheless, an Admin Per Se will still suspend the privilege to drive in Arizona.) If you have an Arizona license, police will confiscate your license. If your license is from another state, your privilege to drive in Arizona will still be suspended. In addition, if Arizona MVD informs your home state of the incident, your home state may suspend or revoke your driver’s license.

The Admin Per Se form serves as a temporary driver’s license for the next fifteen days. If you don’t request a hearing to delay or challenge the suspension, the suspension will go into effect on day sixteen. If you request a hearing, the suspension is delayed until a hearing is held before an MVD judge.

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Near the bottom of the Admin Per Se form, there’s a section that indicates the license suspension. Unless you refused to provide a sample, the second box should be checked, which reads:

“Pursuant to ARS 28-1385, your Arizona driver license/permit or nonresident driving privilege is suspended for not less than 90 consecutive days effective 15 days from Date Served. If a review of your driver record indicates that you have completed alcohol or drug screening and are eligible for a 60-day restricted driving permit, one will automatically be mailed to your address of record within 45 days from Date Served. This order is final unless a summary review or hearing is requested online or in writing and received within 15 days from Date Served. This suspension is a result of test to which you submitted. This suspension will not end until all reinstate requirements are met including completion of alcohol or drug screening.”

As you can see, there’s only fifteen days to request a hearing to delay or contest the suspension. If you don’t timely file a hearing request, the suspension automatically starts on day sixteen. If you, or your attorney, timely requests a hearing, the suspension is “stayed” (delayed) until a hearing is held at MVD’s Executive Hearing Office. A timely hearing request will delay the suspension for a few months. If you request a hearing, the Admin Per Se document serves as your temporary license until MVD makes a final decision on the suspension.

What if I was NOT given an Admin Per Se?

Sometimes police don’t serve the Admin Per Se during arrest. There are a few common reasons for that: police may wait for blood results to come back; police may determine that you BAC is below .08; and, police may decide not to serve you during arrest.

Police can still file an Admin Per Se suspension later. As such, it’s important to ensure that your address is current with MVD. If the officer files the Admin Per Se upon receipt of the blood results, you want to make sure you receive the suspension letter. An old address may result in not learning about a suspension.
If ADOT mails you a corrective action letter advising of an Admin Per Se suspension, MVD will suspend your license, permit, driving privilege, or nonresident driving privilege, 15 days after the letter’s issuance. If you want to delay or challenge the suspension, you or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as you receive it. 

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Requesting an MVD Hearing to Challenge or Delay the Admin Per Se Suspension.

If you timely request a hearing within the allotted 15 days, you can continue driving until the hearing takes place. It’s important to be sure that you correctly and timely request a hearing if you continue to drive. Requests must be made in writing and received by the Executive Hearing office within 15 days from the suspension’s service.

If you, or your Mesa AZ criminal defense attorney, timely requests an Admin Per Se hearing with MVD’s Executive Hearing Office, a hearing will be scheduled before an administrative law judge. If you hire a defense attorney, your attorney can appear for you and waive your presence.

The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether to uphold or void the ninety-day suspension. The hearing isn’t very formal; it takes place in a conference room at a large table. During the hearing, the judge will ask the police officer what happened during the DUI arrest. You, or your attorney, will have an opportunity to ask the officer questions. You may also testify; however, it’s usually not advisable.
The testimony at the hearing is limited to these issues: whether police had reasonable grounds to believe you were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired; whether you were arrested for DUI; whether a chemical test indicated a BAC of 0.08; whether the testing method was valid and reliable; and, whether the test results were accurately evaluated.

Since the scope of the hearing is limited, there are only a few common defenses raised: police lacked reasonable grounds to suspect impairment; police lacked reasonable grounds you were in actual physical control of a vehicle; police never arrested you for DUI; the alcohol tests are below .08; the drug tests only show inactive drugs; you have a valid medical prescription; the chemical test isn’t reliable; and, the chemical test wasn’t accurately evaluated.

At the end of the hearing, the driver can either stipulate to the suspension or make an argument to void the suspension. If the judge rules in favor of the driver, the Admin Per Se suspension is voided. If the judge rules in favor of the State, or accepts a stipulation from the driver, the judge will order the suspension. The judge will usually allow a request for a specific suspension start date, but will not delay it more than thirty days. For example, if the hearing took place on June 15th, the judge may order the suspension to start anytime between June 15th and July 15th.

Arizona’s Admin Per Se Suspension for DUI

Be Careful of SR 22 High Risk Driver’s Insurance.

In many circumstances, it’s advantageous to eventually stipulate to the Admin Per Se suspension. An Admin Per Se Suspension order that precedes a DUI conviction may avoid the requirement to provide proof of future financial responsibility. This proof is either a Certificate of Insurance (known as an SR-22) from an insurance company, or a certificate from the Arizona Office of Treasurer showing deposit in cash or certificates of deposit of $40,000. If you’re required to carry SR-22 insurance to reinstate your driver’s license, you must maintain proof for three years. If you fail to maintain proof, your license and the registration will be suspended until proof is re-established and provided.

SR-22 insurance is a complicated issue that depends on everyone’s unique circumstance. It’s best to consult an Arizona DUI attorney to understand the best course of action in handling the Admin Per Se Suspension. SR22 insurance can add considerable cost to your insurance for the next three years. It some circumstances, it may trigger your insurance company to drop coverage.

Q: How long is an Admin Per Se Suspension?
A: The Admin Per Se DUI Suspension is ninety (90) days. At the end of the 90-day suspension, you must reinstate your driving privilege.

Q: Am I eligible for a restricted driver’s license?
A: Maybe. Many drivers are eligible for a restricted license during the last sixty days of the ninety-day suspension. That restricted license only allows you to drive to work and school.

You’re NOT eligible for the restricted license if one of the following applies: you caused death or serious physical injury to another person; you were convicted of DUI or had a DUI license suspension within the previous seven years; or, you have an out-of-state driver’s license.

Before getting a restricted license, you must complete an MVD DUI Screening. Eligible drivers should complete the screening as soon as possible. We strongly caution clients to only complete the screening and not the recommended treatment hours. Some drivers are never required to complete the hours.

If you’re eligible for the restricted driver’s license, MVD may mail the restricted license to you. The restricted license is not valid until the 31st day of the 90-day suspension. If you’re eligible, but did not receive a restricted license, you’ll need to visit an MVD office to apply for one.

You Must Reinstate Your Driver’s License at the End of the Suspension.

Your driving privileges are not automatically reinstated at the end of the suspension. At the end of the 90-day Admin Per Se suspension, you must reinstate your driving privilege with MVD. To reinstate, you must first complete an MVD DUI Screening; you must also pay the reinstatement fees. Some drivers can reinstate online at servicearizona.com. For those who cannot reinstate online, they must visit an Arizona MVD office for assistance and further instruction.

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