Interviewer: Regarding driver’s licenses, are people aware that their licenses will be suspended if they are arrested due to a DUI? And what can you do to get them back on the road?
Brian Sloan: Driver’s license issues are complicated. This is because it’s up to the officer to decide what to do. Sometimes when an officer will do a blood draw, they are not aware of what someone’s blood alcohol level is at the time of the draw. They have to wait for the blood to be processed, and sometimes that can take up to months.
Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit: Police Officers Have Discretion in Confiscating Driver’s Licenses from Drivers Suspected of Being Intoxicated
Officers basically have two options when they’re dealing with a DUI suspect. They can decide to take their physical driver’s license away and give them a piece of paper that’s called the Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit. Basically, what that paper says is that because someone has been suspected of driving under the influence their license is going to be suspended for 90 days starting 15 days from the date that Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit is served.
For the first 30 days of those 90 days, they are not allowed to drive at all, and for the next 60 days they are eligible to get a To-To-From Work and School Driving Permit in the Motor Vehicle Division’s discretion. So 15 days after they are arrested for DUI, they are going to be allowed to continue to drive but it’s going to be on that piece of paper as opposed to the driver’s license that was taken away from them.
Arizona Does Not Allow Drivers to Apply for a Hardship License
Interviewer: Is that similar a hardship license?
Brian Sloan: No, Arizona doesn’t really have a hardship license. It’s just, we suspect that you were driving under the influence, we’re taking away your license, we’re taking away your privilege to drive, but for the next 15 days you’re allowed to drive.
Now, a person can ask for a hearing. If they ask for a hearing because they don’t feel that they were impaired or they don’t feel that they were truly above a .08 blood alcohol level, they can ask for a hearing, and they will be allowed to continue to drive on that piece of paper until they get the hearing, which can take months. Very likely, it will be inevitable that they end up losing their license for 90 days.
A Private Attorney Will Defend the Case both in Criminal Court and before the Department of Motor Vehicles
There is some ability to decide when that suspension will take effect. It doesn’t have to happen 15 days after the date they’re arrested. This is one of the big reasons why it’s important to not only hire a private attorney but hire a private attorney that is focused on DUI cases and who knows what they’re doing with the Motor Vehicle Division.
This is because the outcome can have pretty devastating effects if someone tries to handle it themselves. Public defenders will not handle this aspect for them.
If one does not prevail at the hearing, they’re going to have SR-22 High Risk Insurance where they may not otherwise have to have it, and the SR-22 High Risk Insurance can cost thousands of dollars over years simply because someone decided that they could handle things themselves.
The other thing that an officer can do is allow someone to continue to have their license after they’ve been arrested for DUI, and they will hold on to Admin Per Se/Implied Consent Affidavit until they get the blood test results back.
If the Police Do Not Confiscate the License, Paperwork Will Be Sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Process of Suspending the License Will Begin
Once they get the blood test results back then they will send that paperwork to the Motor Vehicles Division. The Motor Vehicles Division will then send someone a letter telling the person that you’ve been suspected of driving under the influence, we are going to suspend your license for 90 days for being suspected of driving under the influence, starting 20 days from the date of this letter, and at that point you can go through the same process of requesting a hearing and being allowed to continue to drive until you get that hearing.
Additional Charges: Arizona Does Not Have a Charge of DUI with Injury
Interviewer: As a result of DUI-related accident, if there is a passenger in the vehicle but the person is not hurt will the driver face additional charges?
Drivers Can Be Charged with Aggravated Assault or Second Degree Murder
Brian Sloan: Arizona, unlike other states, doesn’t have a crime of DUI with an injury. In a way it’s unfortunate, because if someone was driving and had alcohol in their system or had drugs or prescription medications in their system and someone was hurt, they are basically going to be charged under Arizona’s aggravated assault statutes or manslaughter statutes or second degree murder statutes.
So someone who is maybe driving drunk and injures someone, it is going to be treated the same as someone who intentionally stabs another person or who shoots someone in the stomach.
There are much harsher risks, much harsher consequences, and much harsher penalties for those types of charges.For example, if someone was driving under the influence of alcohol, they have no priors in their past and they have a blood alcohol level of a .10, they’re looking at a regular DUI with maybe one day up to six months in jail. Chances are it’s going to be closer to the lower end of the spectrum.
A First Offense DUI with an Injury and a Driver BAC of .1 Will Carry Penalties Including 5 to 15 Years in Prison
Plus, if they have no priors in their past and they were driving with a blood alcohol level of a .1 and they injured someone, their own passenger, their friend, their family member or even a stranger, technically they’re looking at anywhere from 5 years to 15 years in prison. Arizona does not have “driving under the influence” where someone is injured.
What the prosecutor will often do is charge what’s called “Aggravated Assault with the Allegation of Dangerousness.” What they’ll do is allege that the defendant recklessly caused an injury to another person while using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and on top of that they used a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
You go from recklessly causing an injury to someone, which is a misdemeanor assault, to recklessly causing an injury to someone using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, which is a felony assault, to the prosecutor saying we’re going to charge you with recklessly causing an injury to someone else using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and using a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument. This an aggravated assault dangerous, which gets you into that 5- to 15-year prison sentence potentially.