When Your Arizona Driver’s License Is In Jeopardy

by Aaron M. Black • June 22, 2023

You might not have realized that when you apply for and receive a driver’s license in Arizona, you are agreeing to submit to testing for a DUI. This is termed “implied consent.”

Drivers who refuse to be tested will be issued at the traffic stop an “implied consent affidavit,” which is served upon drivers who are suspected of being impaired by alcohol or drugs including prescription medications while driving and it is the equivalent of a DUI citation under Arizona Revised Statute §28-1321.

Driver’s license suspension

The first time a driver refuses a blood or urine testing, the driver’s license is suspended for an entire year. If a refusal to be tested happens again within 84 months of the first suspension, the license will be suspended for two years.

Suspended Drivers License

The traffic officer cannot legally demand that you submit to testing. That would be an unconstitutional search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. To take a blood, breath or urine sample without your consent requires a warrant, which a judge can expediently grant. Rotating judges are on call to approve a search warrant, which can be accomplished electronically at the traffic stop.

If you start the test but do not finish it, that is considered a refusal to submit to testing. But testing can be performed without consent if the individual is unconscious, or for some reason incapable of refusing, or is deceased.

After the first 90 days of the suspension, you may be issued a restricted license for driving to work or school, and be eligible to use a special ignition interlock device that prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected when breathing into a testing device. You would also have to complete an alcohol screening and obtain SR22.

However, starting 1/1/2023 MVD will now allow the Restricted interlock immediately with 1) installation of interlock, completion of alcohol/drug screening, and SR22.
Commercial vehicle drivers will have their license suspended or its renewal denied for at least 90 days even if the BAC was at 0.04 blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level, half of the state’s 0.08 BAC baseline.

Completing an alcohol or drug screening is necessary before a license can be restored.

Before a license can be restored, the driver must submit proof of financial responsibility by submitting form SR22 to verify that Arizona’s minimum insurance liability is in force for injury, death and property damage and maintain the SR22 policy for three years. Insurance companies upon learning of your DUI conviction can cancel your policy or may increase your insurance rates by 30 percent and up to 200 percent, according to Insure.com.

The arresting officer must complete a detailed report filling out a standard list of topics; including that the driver was told the testing was voluntary but would mean license suspension if refused, the manner in how the test was refused, and whether they asked for an administrative hearing.

Driving with a suspended license

Perhaps you need to get to the grocery store or to work, but driving with a suspended license is not a good idea. Driving while your license is suspended is a class one misdemeanor crime with a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail, three years probation, fines that can reach four figures, and your vehicle can be impounded for 30 days.

This is a criminal offense and the punishments are harsh. Hiring a ride or a grocery deliver is the best choice. For commuting to work, many jobs can be done over the internet but jobs not related to a computer means a monthly pass for taking the bus.

The administrative hearing

Although the arresting officer confiscates your driver’s license, under law, you are still entitled to due process, which means fair treatment under the law. This is an opportunity to save your license.

You have 30 days after your license was surrendered to the officer to submit a written or online request to the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Services for a fair and impartial hearing before an administrative law judge. Failing to request a hearing within those 30 days means the order suspending your license becomes final.

Judge Pointing

The hearing weighs the evidence and testimony and the decision is binding. If you do not agree with the decision you can petition for a rehearing; and after that, appeal the ruling to the Superior Court. Still not satisfied, the case can go to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Administrative and civil law procedures are different from criminal law. It is important to be represented by an attorney who is experienced presenting cases in this forum.

Defending your license

The license suspension is dismissed at the administrative hearing if it can be shown that the officer did not have probable cause to stop you or failed to tell you what happens if you refuse testing. If blood was taken without your consent, the test results are not admissible into the evidence against you and license suspension is dismissed.

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI defense

Should you or someone you care for be charged or are under investigation for a DUI, it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself to defend you at the earliest possible time. In my long career as a DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble and that is why I ensure they have the best defense possible.

Aaron M. Black Law provides personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me at every stage of your DUI case.

Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day and I will respond promptly unless I am in court on at trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend Super Extreme DUI cases throughout Arizona, including Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
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