How Do Administrative Hearings Proceed In Arizona?

This probably comes down to the idea, “driving is a privilege not a right”.

Even though people have the constitutional right to not be punished for a crime without due process, the courts have determined that someone losing their license would not count as a punishment because “driving is a privilege not a right”.

This is why people can get their license suspended even though they had not been convicted of anything, and even though ultimately they may be found not guilty or they may be found innocent of the crime for which they were charged. Nonetheless, the Arizona State Legislature has decided that people are entitled to a hearing on this matter if they chose to do so, and it would be the same reason there are hearings on civil traffic violations or why there is a civil court to begin with.

The legislature wants people to have due process if they felt there was a need to fight the issue concerning a license suspension, and they would be entitled to a hearing as long as certain requirements were met. Those requirements would usually concern making a timely request for the hearing and the person would have to properly ask for a hearing.

Over the last couple of years, the Motor Vehicle Division has relaxed the requirements for people who do not properly ask for a hearing, and they now seem willing to let people have a hearing regardless. People need to understand the potential for consequences if they handle the part concerning the Motor Vehicle Division incorrectly.

Let us suppose someone decided to take it upon themselves to handle the Motor Vehicle Division aspect and they asked for a hearing or a summary review. If they did not handle it correctly then they could end up with SR-22 high risk insurance when they would not have otherwise.

The Administrative Hearing Is Different From The Criminal DUI Hearing

The Arizona rules of evidence would not apply, because for all intents and purposes, it would be somewhat like a mini bench trial. An administrative law judge would act as the judge during these proceedings but there would be no prosecutor.

Importance Of Officer Testimony At The Administrative Hearing At The DMV

Officers could show up to testify, and the defendant and the defense lawyer could also show up. Often, just the defense lawyer would show up instead of the defendant. Officers would be allowed to testify to hearsay, which would not be allowed in a court of law, although it would be allowed in these administrative hearings.

Everyone would give their testimony under oath, so it would be an opportunity to ask the officer questions concerning their involvement in the case while they were under oath. The administrative law judge would normally limit the questioning to only relevant information as far as the hearing, so it would not be an open opportunity to interview the officer.

It would be a limited opportunity to question the officer specifically concerning the issues at play in the administrative hearing. Because hearsay is allowed, technically any officer could show up to testify even if they had absolutely no involvement in the case, as long as they could testify to what the officer involved in the case was testifying to. It would be very rare for a completely unrelated officer to show up to testify but it would technically be allowed pursuant to the rules and regulations for administrative law hearings.

Depending on what the hearing was for sufficient evidence would need to be shown to the administrative law judge so they could determine whether or not the suspension should be upheld, whether it was for an admin per say to determine whether someone’s blood alcohol content was at or above a .08, or depending on whether it was an implied consent hearing determining whether the person was suspected of driving under the influence but refused to consent to the blood, breath, and/or urine test requested by the officer.

Winning Or Losing This Hearing Might Affect The Criminal Side Of The Case

The administrative hearing might affect the criminal hearing to maybe a small extent, although realistically neither the prosecutor nor the judge in the DUI criminal case itself would know the outcome of the hearing, so it would not actually make a big difference.

The administrative hearing of an admin per say suspension or an implied consent suspension would be taken under oath, and it would be recorded so that if the officer testified, it could be used as impeachment, and if the defendant testified, that could also be used as impeachment in the criminal case itself.

This could come into play if someone testified one way during the administrative law hearing but then a different way during the criminal case itself. Probably the biggest example would be if someone admitted to being the driver in the admin per say hearing but then tried to argue that they were not the driver at the criminal hearing itself.

The other way the hearing could impact the criminal case itself would simply be if the person was convicted of a DUI, depending on what happened at the administrative hearing, it would be possible that they would have to have SR-22 high risk insurance, whereas they may not have had to have it otherwise.

For more information on Administrative Hearing At The DMV, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 480-900-0384 today.

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