Do You Require an Attorney for Dealing With the Tempe Motor Vehicle Department?

A hearing with an Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) is not a criminal matter. A MVD hearing are significantly different as they are civil hearing, even through it is tied in with the criminal DUI case. An Administrative Law Judge or ALJ deals with the matter informally, without a judge or jury. There is a different requirement of the standard of proof required in these MVD hearings. The standard of proof is proof has to be established by a preponderance of evidence.  This is a much lower standard than those in criminal proceedings where the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. A MVD hearing can cover many matters that deal with a driver’s license. These hearings can include:

  • DUI Administrative Per Se Hearings
  • DUI Implied Consent Hearings
  • Negligent Operator Point Hearings
  • Driving License Reinstatement Hearings after Revocation or Suspension
  • Insurance  (SR22) Hearings
  • Medical Review Hearings

 

DUI Administrative Per Se Hearings

If the blood alcohol content of over 0.08% in a DUI stop, the driver’s privilege to drive will be suspended for a period of 9 days. If you want to contest the 90 day suspension period, you need to request for an administrative hearing within being served the Affidavit by the officer. The ALJ will determine if the officer has met the “scope of the hearing”. The suspension can be rendered void if the scope has not been met. This scope of hearing requires that:

  • the officer had reasonable grounds for stopping the vehicle;
  • the arrest was made for DUI,
  • the blood alcohol content more than 0.08%, and
  • the test reliable and valid

There can be many defenses in an Administrative Per Se suspension hearing. These can include: 1) the officer not having reasonable grounds to believe that the motor vehicle driver was influence of alcohol; 2) the officer failing to make a DUI arrest; 3) blood alcohol content was lower than 0.08%; and 4) an unreliable testing.

If the 90 day license suspension is upheld, it is possible to get a restricted license under certain circumstances. The following requirements must be meet: 1) that there has been no serious physical injury to anybody else as a result of the driving; 2) the driver has no prior DUI offense within the previous 84 months, and 3) there was no refusal of test on any DUI investigation during that same 84 month period. Once granted, this restricted license can only be used for travelling from home to, from and for employment, school, the probation office, the doctor office, or a drug or alcohol screening, treatment or education facility. Additionally, before this restricted license is granted, the driver will have to undergo an alcohol and drug screening.

 

DUI Implied Consent Hearings

When driver is requested by a law enforcement officer to take a blood, breath or urine test on a DUI stop, the Motor Vehicle Department will suspend the driver’s license for a period of at least one year. In order to contest this suspension, a hearing must be requested within 15 days of the service of the Affidavit from the officer. The ALJ will determine if the officer has met the “scope of the hearing”. The suspension can be rendered void if the scope has not been met. This scope of hearing requires that:

  • the officer had reasonable grounds for stopping the vehicle;
  • the arrest was made for DUI,
  • there was a refusal by the driver to submit to the requested test, and
  • Whether the driver was advised of the consequences of such refusal.

There can be many defenses in an Implied Consent Suspension hearing. These can include: 1) the officer not having reasonable grounds to believe that the motor vehicle driver was influence of alcohol; 2) the officer failing to make a DUI arrest; 3) the officer failed to advise the driver of the consequences of such a refusal; 4) the driver not capable of refusing the test due to being unconscious; 5) the driver  recanted an earlier refusal in a timely manner; 6) the sample collected by law enforcement  was insufficient, but this was not due to driver being uncooperative or engaging in gamesmanship; and 7) the refusal not a result of an illegitimate requirement before completion of the test, such as the request to sign a liability waiver.

If the license suspension is upheld, it is for a period of one year. The suspension period can be extend to two years if there is a previous refusal in a DUI stop within the prior 84 month period.  In the case of the one year suspension, a driver can, after 90 days of the suspension period, apply for a “Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License” (SIIRDL). This breath test device will allow the driver to drive a vehicle for the remaining balance of the suspension.

 

“Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License” (SIIRDL)

The SIIRDL is made available under certain conditions:

  • There was no prior implied consent suspension within the previous 84 months period;
  • The driver has a conviction for a class 6 felony Aggravated DUI where there was a child passenger in the vehicle who was under 15 years of age;
  • The driver was less than 18 years of age, convicted of Underage Drinking while Driving or a DUI crime and the Court requires MVD to order a SIIRDL as part of the sentence
  • The driver is 18, but less than 21 years of age, convicted of Underage Drinking while Driving and the Court requires MVD to order a SIIRDL as part of the sentence.

The SIIRDL requirement allows the driver to drive, but that privilege is restricted.  Additionally, the driver to have an SR-22 insurance policy. Once granted, this restricted license can only be used for travelling from home to, from and for employment, school, the probation office, the doctor office, or a drug or alcohol screening, treatment or education facility. Additionally, before this restricted license is granted, the driver will have to undergo an alcohol and drug screening.

 

SR-22 Insurance Policy

The SR-22 insurance policy is requested by MVD under certain conditions, including when a driver is granted a SIIRDL.  This insurance is a high risk insurance policy that mandates the driver have the minimum liability policy. The insurance company is required to inform MVD immediately in case the policy lapses for any reason. The policy is required when:

  1. The driver has a DUI conviction, but had not received the suspension requirement pursuant to the Administrative Per Se Law.
  2. The driver received an Implied Consent suspension; or
  3. The driver got a revocation due to a felony DUI or a second offense misdemeanor DUI conviction within a 84 month period.  The SR-22 insurance has to be held for a 3 year period.

 

Getting Help for MVD Issues

A driver’s license is extremely important in today’s day and age. Without it, get around on one’s own is much more difficult. Robert can assist you on navigating these issues. Robert personally handles these cases. DUI cases and even answers his own telephone. So, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, by calling him at 480-860-4321 or sending him an email.