Understanding MVD Hearings for License Suspensions

If you receive a notice that your driver’s license is going to be suspended, you may have the opportunity to request a hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) to fight against the suspension. The most common circumstance for this type of hearing is a license suspension under Arizona’s implied consent law in a driving under the influence (DUI) case.

DUI and Implied Consent License Suspensions

If you are pulled over in Arizona and accused of driving under the influence, you may be ordered to give a breath, blood or urine test. All drivers in Arizona give their implied consent to these tests when they obtain their driver’s licenses. Implied consent means if a driver refuses to comply with these tests, he or she can face automatic penalties from the MVD. The standard penalty is a 12-month driver’s license suspension for a first-time offender.

If your driver’s license gets suspended for refusal to comply with a DUI test, the license suspension period will commence 15 days from the date that it was issued. Within these 15 days, the driver has the right to request an MVD hearing or summary review to argue against the suspension. If accepted, the suspension will be stayed (put on hold) for at least 20 days from the date the request is made.

How to Request a Hearing

Your request for an MVD hearing regarding the suspension of your driver’s license must be put in writing and submitted on the correct Executive Hearing Office hearing request form by mail, fax or email within 15 days of receiving a notice. The form should include your full name, mailing address, driver’s license number, date of birth, phone number and email address, and a brief statement as to why you are requesting a hearing.  

An MVD hearing is not a criminal DUI hearing. It is a civil proceeding to determine if your driver’s license should be suspended. If the state cannot meet its burden of proof, you may avoid license suspension. However, if your DUI case goes to the criminal courts and you are convicted, part of your criminal sentence could be a suspension for the same amount of time had the MVD hearing not taken place.

Admin Per Se vs. Implied Consent Challenges

At the MVD hearing, the state will have to prove that the police officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were driving under the influence, and that you either refused to take a DUI test or you completed a valid test and the result was a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above the legal limit (0.08 for standard drivers and 0.04 for commercial drivers). 

You or your criminal defense lawyer will have the opportunity to request an admin per se challenge or an implied consent challenge to your driver’s license suspension. Admin per se refers to a type of DUI arrest that is triggered by a driver complying with a test and presenting an illegal BAC. This will result in a 90-day license suspension. 

Do You Need an Attorney for an MVD Hearing?

A hearing with the Motor Vehicle Department in Arizona may not be a criminal trial, but its outcome can still affect your life and future. An attorney can help you with an MVD hearing by building a defense, combatting the state’s evidence against you and challenging the grounds for a driver’s license suspension. A lawyer could also submit a request for a restricted permit, which can still allow you to drive to certain locations. If you face criminal charges for a DUI, your lawyer can also represent you during this process.

For more information about MVD hearings in Arizona for a suspended driver’s license, contact Corso Law Group for a free consultation with an attorney.

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