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In Arizona, Will Your Driver’s License Be Suspended for a First DUI Offense?

Interviewer: That’s good to know. To mention some other things that you probably are questioned on, for example, if someone’s arrested for DUI is there any way to avoid having their driver’s license suspended? Sure, people complain that they haven’t been convicted, so how can the state suspend their driver’s license? Can anything be done about it?

Per Arizona State Law, Your License Can be suspended Before You Are Convicted of DUI

Brian: The suspension. Everyone who is suspected of driving under the influence, if they are given a blood, breath, or urine test and the officer suspects that they were driving under the influence, their license is suspended for 90 days. It’s called an implied consent suspension.

Implied Consent Suspension: Driving Is a Privilege In Arizona, Not a Right

The government is allowed to do that even though the defendant has not been deemed guilty of anything. It basically comes down to driving is a privilege, not a right. So the government is not taking a right away from you, they’re taking a privilege away from you.

Arizona Residents Do Not Have Due Process Rights In Civil Matters

If they feel that you possibly are driving under the influence, they don’t want you driving on the streets. They can do it; it’s not a violation of due process because due process only applies to criminal convictions and the criminal process. This is a civil process. People do not have due process rights in a civil process.

You Are Entitled to Request a Hearing to Challenge the Suspension

So their license is set for a 90-day suspension, starting 15 days after they were arrested in most situations. It is possible to challenge that. In the challenge, one basically says, I understand you arrested me and you believe that I was driving under the influence, but I wasn’t. Or there was some issue that came up, such as there’s some legal insufficiency, there’s some factual insufficiency.

You are entitled to a hearing. I include that hearing as part of my representation. There are special ways of handling that hearing. Depending on the outcome, you may end up hurting yourself more than you hope to if you handle it the wrong way.

Do You Need a Defense Attorney at the Hearing? Losing Your Challenge Comes With Potentially Expensive Consequences

If you ask for a hearing and if you lose that hearing, you might be setting yourself up for having to get SR-22 insurance. This is high-risk insurance, where if you didn’t ask for the hearing and if you didn’t lose the hearing, you wouldn’t have to have that high-risk insurance, even with the DUI conviction.

So there are ways of challenging it, but I’ve had the case where I was able to get the DUI case dismissed but they still allege that my client refused the initial request for a breath test. Because they refused and because it’s part of a civil violation of refusing a requested blood, breath, or urine test from an officer, their license was suspended for a year.

Even though their conviction went away, the civil side of the suspension was enforced. I’m right in the middle of fighting that to the Court of Appeals saying that this is ridiculous to punish someone civilly when the criminal aspect has been dismissed and on a couple of other theories. It really is ridiculous, and there is a way to fight it. Case specific, it depends on if you want to fight it and how you want to fight it.

An Attorney May Help Delay the Onset of Your License Suspension

What I’ve been able to do most of the time if my client just isn’t willing or isn’t able to have their license taken away right now, I am able to delay the suspension by a couple of extra months. I do include that as far as my representation. I’m able to get them an extension so that basically they can keep driving for a couple of extra months before they may have to lose their license for 90 days.

By: Brian Douglas Sloan

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Why Brian Douglas Sloan?
AZ DUI Defense Lawyer Brian Douglas Sloan
  • 16+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense
  • Represented 3,700+ DUI Clients
    • Regular DUI
    • Extreme DUI
    • Super Extreme DUI
    • Drug/Medication DUI
  • Top One Percent in the Nation"
    National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • “Top 10 DUI Lawyers in Arizona”
    National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • “10 Best Client Satisfaction Award”
    American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys
  • Superb “10 / 10” – AVVO.com
  • Preeminent “4.9 / 5.0” -- Martindale-Hubbell
  • “Southwest Rising Star” -- Super Lawyers
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