What is an MVD License Suspension Hearing?
Being convicted of driving under the influence in Arizona will lead to a series of administrative and court events pertaining to the eventual sanctions. One of these events is the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) license suspension hearing. The MVD license suspension hearing is separate from dealing with the DUI criminal charges, which is why things can get confusing.
The MVD License Suspension Hearing: An Overview
Anyone who disagrees with the suspension of their license after a DUI conviction can request a hearing with the MVD.
This is an administrative hearing. Thus, it cannot have an impact on any of the criminal proceedings and the court decisions following the DUI charge. A hearing can be requested solely by the individuals whose license suspension is not classified as mandatory.
The statute of limitations for requesting the MVD hearing is 15 days. Otherwise, you will have no opportunity for retaining your driving rights until the suspension expires. Anyone who doesn’t act quickly enough will have their license suspended automatically for 90 days in the aftermath of driving under the influence.
Requesting a Hearing and What to Expect
It’s best to hire an experienced DUI attorney instead of attempting to deal with the court and the administrative processes on your own. A lawyer who specializes in the area will give you a better idea about the option for retaining your license and what it would take to challenge the administrative punishment.
To request an Arizona DMV hearing, you can send an online request via the ADOT official website or complete a request form, print it out and mail it to the Arizona DMV office. When the request is received, a hearing will be scheduled within the coming 30 to 35 days.
Usually, a suspension will be put on hold until the hearing occurs. This is why it’s very important to act fast after being charged with driving under the influence.
In the hearing, the state will be burdened with proving that the driver under question should have their license suspended (via preponderance of the evidence – a legal term that refers to having at least 50 percent of the evidence pointing towards something). The decision will be made by MVD “judges” who are called hearing officers. Based on a review of the evidence, the hearing officers will rule out whether the license suspension should be upheld.
Challenging the DMV Ruling
A person that disagrees with the outcome of the DMV hearing can eventually request a re-hearing. Such a request should be made at Arizona’s Executive Hearing Office in Phoenix. This time, the decision will be made by an administrative law judge (AJL).
Keep in mind that a rehearing request will be granted solely in certain circumstances. The reasons provided for the request should be in compliance with the Article 5 of the Arizona Administrative Code requirements.
A ruling by the AJL is final. It could eventually be appealed in Superior Court.
There are a few final things to keep in mind about DMV hearings.
A person who is found not guilty of DUI charges will still need to attend their scheduled DMV hearing. As already mentioned, court proceedings deal with criminal charges and the DMV addresses the administrative side of things. There’s no connection between the two processes and one does not negate the other.
If a person is convicted of driving under the influence, the situation will be different. License suspension could be a part of the conviction and it will typically go beyond the 90 days that are originally imposed with the charge. License suspension that is a part of a criminal conviction cannot be challenged before the DMV. Before license reinstatement occurs in these instances, an individual will be required to meet all of the conditions imposed by the court and to obtain SR-22 insurance.