Interviewer: When someone requests the hearing, how long will it take for them to actually have to go to hearing and what’s the hearing like?
Brian Sloan: It’s basically a mini trial. There is an administrative law judge who is not a judge per se, but is someone who oversees the proceedings. I will request the hearing online. My client immediately will get an email from the Arizona Department of Transportation, which will say something like, “Thank you for your comment.”
Even If an Attorney Requests the Hearing, You Are the Only Party Notified about the Proceeding
A couple of days later, they will then get an email from the Arizona Department of Transportation that will indicate, “We received your request for a hearing. Your license suspension is stayed. We will mail you notice of your hearing within the next 30 to 60 days.”
In reality, the letter is being mailed out usually between 60 and 120 days. It’s taking a long time for people to get those letters. The problem with the system is that the client, the defendant is emailed these notices, while the attorney is not.
So, I can request the hearing on my client’s behalf, but I do not get any notification that it was actually received. I don’t get any notification that their license suspension has been stayed. And when the client eventually gets a letter in the mail telling them when the hearing is set, I don’t get a copy of that letter either.
So, unfortunately, everything goes to the client. And the only way they are notified of the hearing is by mail, not by email. So, normally, the range of time on this is that someone will get arrested, they request a hearing, they’ll get an email immediately after we ask for a hearing, they’ll get an email a couple of days after we ask for the hearing.
It May Take up to 150 Days for the Hearing
They will then get a letter in the mail between 60 to 120 days later, which will then notify them of their hearing date, which is usually going to be about a month or two later.
During This Time, Your Case for the DUI Is Pending as Well
And the problem with this is that the case itself which is proceeding through the court system usually isn’t going to take as long as the Motor Vehicle Division System is going to take. But we are trying to ensure that we make the right decision with the Motor Vehicle Division hearing so as to hopefully prevent the client from having to get Sr22 high risk insurance. This usually means that we want to figure out what to do with the Motor Vehicle Division hearing before we finalize the case that is pending in court.
So, a lot of times, the hearings do not actually take place. We end up agreeing to the license suspension prior to the hearing actually taking place or oftentimes, prior to the hearing actually being sent.
What to Expect: Hearings at the MVD Do Not Operate under the Same Rules of Evidence as the Judicial System
Now, if the hearing actually does take place, the rules of law don’t necessarily apply. The administrative law judge, the Motor Vehicle Division hearing is not under the same rules of evidence as the court system. Hearsay is allowed which means that in reality, some officer needs to show up to the hearing.
The Arresting Officer Does Not Have to Appear
Any officer, not necessarily the arresting officer, needs to come to the hearing. An officer who reviewed the police reports or talked to the officers that were involved in the case can come to testify. They only need to be able to establish to the administrative law judge that the arresting officer did have reasonable suspicion stopped the vehicle, did establish probable cause to arrest the person and did request that a blood, breath, urine test be provided.
And either that the test results came back above the legal limit or that it did show the presence of drugs or medications.