DUI & Criminal Defense

111 East Taylor Street, Suite 120
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

DUI LIBRARY: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need to Your Driver’s License & DUI

THE 8 STEP ANALYSIS

Your Arizona driver’s license and DUI

Before a Conviction

Arrested for DUI Arizona

STEP 1 | GETTING ARRESTED FOR DUI

An Arizona DUI arrest triggers a suspension of your driver’s license (or if you’re an out-of-state visitor, your privilege to drive in Arizona).  

This is true even without being convicted of a DUI.

Refused Blood Test DUI

STEP 2 | CONSENTING OR REFUSING A TEST

Usually, within minutes after being arrested for DUI, the officer will ask you to make a choice. Your answer will have a significant impact on your ability to drive.​

Your choice is either:

Consent: Admin Per Se

You can consent to provide a breath, blood, urine sample or refuse. If you consent and the results show an alcohol concentration of at least .08, then a 90-day suspension is triggered.

A suspension as a result of consenting to the test (and evidence showing you were over the legal limit) is called an admin per se suspension.

Refuse: Implied Consent

You can refuse the officer’s request. This choice triggers a 1-year driver’s license suspension. It’s important to know that refusing the officer’s request is unlikely to have an upside. Telephonic warrants are widely available in Arizona (usually within 20 minutes). Thus, refusing often results in a forcible blood draw, plus the 1-year suspension.

A suspension based upon a refusal to take a test is called an implied consent suspension.

Admin Per Suspension

STEP 3 | CHALLENGING OR SUBMITTING TO A SUSPENSION

Once an officer issues you a suspension the next choice you face is: challenge it or let it go into effect. This is true, regardless of, whether it’s an admin per se or implied consent suspension.

If you do nothing, then the suspension will go into effect 15-days from the time the suspension was issued. Challenging a suspension involves:

The Deadline

There is a hard deadline for requesting a hearing.  You must request the hearing within 15-days from the date it is issued.

A written request for a hearing can be:

  • Directly delivered
  • Faxed (602) 241-1624
  • Sent by email
  • Mailed Executive Hearing Office, ADOT,  P.O. Box 2100
    MD 507M, Phoenix, AZ 85001
Effect of Request

Requesting a hearing stays (i.e. stops) the suspension from going into effect.

Stay Letter DUI AZ
Stay Letter Arizona DUI Suspension
Narrow Scope

Hearings with Arizona MVD are civil proceedings. This means that you cannot challenge a constitutional issue like an unlawful traffic stop.  A hearing to challenge an alleged implied consent suspension, because you refused an officer's request for blood or breath, has a broader scope than an admin per se challenge. Also, as a matter of law, there are more potential defenses.

Admin Per Se Challenges

Then there is no suspension.

Then there is no administrative suspension if you win a hearing at the MVD, but if you are later convicted of DUI in the criminal court then that will result in:

  •  A 90-day suspension.
  • You will also be required to obtain SR22 insurance
  • A 90-day admin per se suspension.
  • After the first 30 days, a restricted driving permit is available.
  • No SR22 required.
  • No additional suspension after conviction for first offenses.

Implied Consent Challenges

Then there is no suspension.

Then there is no administrative suspension if you win a hearing at the MVD, but if you are later convicted of DUI in the criminal court then that will result in:

  •  A 90-day suspension.
  • You will also be required to obtain SR22 insurance
  • 1-year license suspension
  • After the 90-days, a restricted driving permit is available with an ignition interlock.
  • SR22 required.
  • A conviction also triggers an additional interlock requirement.
Restricted Driving Permit DUI

STEP 4 | OBTAINING A RESTRICTED PERMIT

If the suspension goes into effect (either because you did not challenge or your challenge was unsuccessful) then you may be able to obtain a restricted driving permit.  This permit will allow you to drive to places such as work, school, or the doctor.  For first time cases, the restricted permit timelines are:

Admin Per Se | Restricted License

A restricted permit is eligible after 30 days. Restricted driving is permitted for the remaining 60 days.

To illustrate…

30 days after the start of an admin per se suspension (which lasts 90-days) you become eligible for a restricted permit. A restricted permit requires completing an alcohol/drug screening with a certified vendor.  At this point, you are only required to do the screening – not any treatment.

Be aware: At this point, you are only required to do the screening – not any treatment. You should only have to do treatment/education if you are later convicted of a DUI.

The screening process may not be what you think.  

  • There is no peeing in a cup.
  • It is merely answering questions.
  • Most screenings last around 30 minutes.

After the screening is done, proof of completion is electronically transmitted to MVD. Now you have done what is necessary to make you eligible the restricted license.

At this point, call or go to MVD.  Confirm that they have, or will be, issuing the restricted license. 

Here is a link to a list of screening facilities that are certified by the Arizona MVD:

By telephone you say?

Some of the facilities allow screening to be done by phone.  This particularly helpful for out-of-state visitors who got arrested for DUI in Arizona.

After that, the screener electronically transmits the fact that the screening has been done to the MVD.

Once that is done, the person is eligible for the restricted license after the 30 days of no driving.

Implied Consent | Restricted License

A restricted permit is eligible after 90 days. Restricted driving (with an interlock device) is permitted for the remaining 9 months.

STEP 5 | REINSTATING YOUR LICENSE

Your driver’s license is not automatically reinstated when a suspension ends. A suspension of your driver's license is a

In some cases, the Arizona MVD will allow you reinstate your driver’s license after an admin per se suspension, online.  And for “who knows why?” some people have to physically go to an Arizona MVD location to reinstate.

Here is a link to Arizona MVD for reinstating your driver’s license

After a Conviction

Unfortunately, after completing an admin per se or implied consent suspension the

consequences to your driver’s license are likely not finished. 

STEP 6 | POINTS SUSPENSION?

In most instances, people like getting points for something. However, when it comes to your driver’s license points are a bad thing. It’s like getting a demerit. Get enough of them and your driver’s license will be suspended.

  • Traffic Offense Number of Points
  • DUI, or Extreme, or Super-Extreme 8
  • Reckless Driving & Aggressivee Driving  8
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident 6
  • Offenses Resulting in an Accident that Causes Death 6
  • Offenses Resulting in an Accident that Serious Injury 4
  • Speeding 3
  • Gore Point Violations  2
  • All Other Moving Violations  2

Being convicted of most traffic offenses results in points being assigned to your driver’s license by the MVD.  Before an accumulation of points results in a suspension, you may be able to maintain your license by going to Traffic Survival School.  This is not the same defense driving school people attend when they get a speeding ticket.

When you reach 8 points (buy have not exceeded 12 points) within 12 months, your license will be suspended unless you successfully complete TSS.   However, you can only attend TSS once every two years. 

TSS also: 

  • Is required if you are convicted of the crimes of Aggressive Driving, a Moving Violation Resulting in Serious Physical Injury or Death.
  • Is required for a red-light violation. 

  • May be required for the first moving violation of a driver under 18 years old.

STEP 7 | PRIOR VIOLATION PROBLEMS

A prior offense can sometimes result in a driver’s license revocation. A revocation is the complete removal of your privilege to drive. Unlike a suspension, after your revocation period has ended, your driving privilege will remain revoked.  

There is a process to regaining your privilege to drive which includes an investigation by MVD and lots of paperwork.  First-time misdemeanor DUI offenses DO NOT result in revocations.

In Arizona, your driving privilege will be revoked if you are convicted of two of the following “serious” moving violations within seven (7) years:

  • Any type of DUI.
  • Reckless Driving.
  • Racing on the highways.

A revocation will also be triggered by any combination of this offense within seven (7) years.

But there is a little good news…

More recently, Arizona changed the law to allow a restricted permit.  For second-time DUI offenses (and for aggravated DUI violations) you may a “special ignition interlock restricted driver license.”  

If granted, after forty-five days of the revocation period, you drive to places such as work, school and the doctor with an interlock in your car.  See A.R.S 28-1381(O), A.R.S 28-1401.

Arizona Ignititon Interlock

STEP 8 | INTERLOCKS

An interlock is a breath-testing device that is installed in your car. It must be installed by a certified vendor to count towards your required term. There are different kinds of interlocks.  For the most part, interlocks only required as a result of a conviction for a DUI.

When Is It Required?

There is more than one type of ignition interlock restriction under Arizona law.  The most common is a called a Certified Ignition Interlock.  It results from, and is required, after a DUI conviction.

Here the statutory required time periods resulting from different types of DUI convictions:

Required Time For Each Type of DUI

  • First time DUI Offense* 1 Year
  • Extreme DUI 1 Year
  • Super-Extreme DUI 1.5 Years
  • Aggravated DUI 1 Year
  • 2nd Standard DUI 1 Year
  • 2nd Extreme DUI 1 Year
  • 2nd Super-Extreme DUI 2 years

A Six Month Reduction?

First time DUI convictions result in a interlock requirement of one-year.  However, a person may be eligible to have the term reduced to 6 months (a “deferment”). The requirements for deferment eligibility are:
    1. No DUI within the last 7 years (84 months).
    2. The violation was not an extreme DUI.
    3. There was no accident involved.
    4. You completed at least 16 hours of substance abuse education.
    5. There were no violations during the first 6 months.
    6. It has been at least 6 months since your reinstatement date.
Only violations occurring after January 1, 2012 are eligible for deferments.

Reinstating Your License Before Installation

Prior to installing a Certified Ignition Interlock you must have a valid driver’s license. That is, you must reinstate your license if you want it to count towards the amount of time you are required to have the interlock in your car.  That is not to say, the interlock company will refuse to install a device if you ask them.  On the contrary, they will be more than happy to take your money and put one in your vehicle.  However, Arizona MVD will not count any of that time towards your required term. 

Therefore…

If

Admin Per Se Suspension

Then

Must Reinstate

Before Installing

Certified Ignition Interlock Device

If

Implied Consent Suspension

Then

Must Reinstate

Before Installing

Certified Ignition Interlock Device

If

Points  Suspension

Then

Must Reinstate

Before Installing

Certified Ignition Interlock Device

If

Revocation

Then

Must Reinstate

Before Installing

Certified Ignition Interlock Device

Revocations & Interlocks

This gets really confusing.  Stick with it me and I will get you through it. 

A driver’s license suspension is a temporary loss of your driving privileges. However, a revocation is termination of your driving privileges.  Revocations usually result from felony DUI convictions or multiple DUI offenses.  Once a revocation ends your driver’s license will remain revoked until you go through a process  and are approved by MVD.

For certain offenses that tigger a revocation, Arizona law allows for a restricted driving permit during the revocation period with an interlock device.

Special Ignition Interlock restricted driver license

For suspensions resulting from an implied consent suspension or revocations resulting from certain DUI offenses Arizona allows a restricted driving permit with an interlock – a Special Ignition Interlock Driver’s License (SIIRDL). Keep in mind this is separate and distinct from a certified ignition interlock the normally follows DUI conviction. A SIIRDL is voluntary.  If you simply wait to drive until you are able to reinstate your driver’s license there is not requirement to obtain a SIIRDL and install this type of interlock.

Overlapping Interlock Requirements

Choosing to obtain a SIIRDL during a suspension or revocation will not count towards any subsequent Ignition Interlock requirement.

Implied Consent Example

12 month suspension

Day 1 – Day 90

No Driving

Day 91 – Day 365

Driving with SIIRDL

Then...after a DUI conviction

Day 1 – Day 90

No Driving

Day 91 – Day 365

Driving with SIIRDL

Reinstate

Certified Ignition Interlock

1-2 years

MVD gives NO CREDIT for the time you installed an interlock with the SIIRDL

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