Are You Looking For a Motor Vehicle Department Hearing Attorney in Scottsdale?
Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) hearings are not criminal matters. They are civil in nature and differ significantly from criminal proceedings. There matters are more informal and are not decided by a judge or jury in a courthouse, but by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The standard of proof in these hearings is also different. The standard is “proof by the preponderance of the evidence”, a much lower standard than the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” MVD hearings cover a wide range of matters dealing with a driver’s license. Such hearing include:
- Administrative Per Se Hearings for a DUI
- Implied Consent Hearings for a DUI
- Negligent Operator “Points” Hearings
- Medical Review Hearings
- Reinstatement of Driving Privileges Following Suspension or Revocation
- SR22 Insurance Hearings
Administrative Per Se DUI Hearings
When stopped for a DUI, and the blood alcohol content is 0.08% or greater, the license will be suspended for a 90 day period. A request for a hearing must be made within 15 days of the service of the Affidavit by the officer, in order to contest the 90 day suspension period. At the hearing, the ALJ must determine if the officer meets the “scope of the hearing”. If the scope is not met, the suspension is voided. The scope of the hearing will include:
- did the officer have reasonable grounds for the stop;
- was there an arrest for a DUI;
- was the blood alcohol content to 0.08% or greater; and
- was the test was valid and reliable.
There are a number of defenses to an Administrative Per Se suspension, including 1) the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the driver was under the influence; 2) the officer failed to place the driver under arrest; 3) the blood alcohol content is below 0.08%; and 4) the test was unreliable.
If the suspension is found valid, the 90 days suspension does allow for a restricted license after the first 30 days under certain conditions. These conditions are: 1) no serious physical injury to another person due to the driving conduct; 2) no prior DUI offense within the prior 84 months; and 3) there was no refusal to take a chemical test for a DUI within the prior 84 months. The restricted license will allow driving between home and employment; for employment; between home or employment and school; between home or employment and a probation office; between home or employment and a doctor's office; and between home or employment and a treatment facility for alcohol or drug screening¸ education or treatment. Lastly, in order to qualify for the restricted license, the driver must complete an alcohol or drug screening prior to obtaining the restricted license.
Implied Consent DUI Hearings
When stopped for a DUI, and the chemical test is refused, the license will be suspended for at least a one year period. A request for a hearing must be made within 15 days of the service of the Affidavit by the officer, in order to contest the suspension period. At the hearing, the ALJ must determine if the officer meets the “scope of the hearing”. If the scope is not met, the suspension is voided. The scope of the hearing will include:
- did the officer had reasonable grounds for the stop;
- was there an arrest for a DUI;
- if there is a refusal or failure to successfully submit to the requested test;
- and whether the driver was made aware of the consequences of the refusal.
There are a number of defenses to an implied consent suspension, including 1) the officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the driver was under the influence; 2) the officer failed to place the driver under arrest; 3) the officer failed to properly explain the result of a refusal; 4) the driver was unconscious and not capable to refuse; 5) the driver timely recants an earlier refusal; 6) law enforcement collected an insufficient sample from the cooperating driver who was not engaging in any gamesmanship; and 7) refusal was based on something else not required for completing the test, such as refusing to sign a liability waiver for the blood draw.
If the refusal is found valid, the privilege to drive will be suspended for a period of one full year, or for a period of two full years if this was a second refusal within a period of 84 months. If given the one year suspension, as described above, the driver may apply to the MVD for a "Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License" (SIIRDL) after completing as least 90 days of that suspension. If eligible, an ignition interlock device (a breath test instrument) must be installed in any driven vehicle for the remaining term of the suspension.
"Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License" (SIIRDL)
The SIIRDL is available under certain situations:
- the driver has an implied consent suspension, with no prior implied consent suspensions within a period of 84 months;
- the driver was convicted of an Aggravated DUI, with a Child Passenger under 15 years of Age in the Vehicle;
- the driver was under the age of 18, convicted of Underage Drinking and Driving or a DUI offense and the Court orders MVD to issue the SIIRDL;
- the driver is 18, 19 or 20 years of age, convicted of Underage Drinking and Driving and the Court orders MVD to issue SIIRDL.
If MVD grants the application for a SIIRDL, the driving privilege will be restricted and the driver will be required to have an SR-22 insurance policy. The restricted license will allow driving between home and employment; for employment; between home or employment and school; between home or employment and a probation office; between home or employment and a doctor's office; and between home or employment and a treatment facility for alcohol or drug screening¸ education or treatment.
SR-22 Insurance Policy
The SR-22 insurance policy is high-risk insurance policy required by MVD under a number of different circumstances, including when the driver has a SIIRDL. The policy is a guarantee to MVD from an insurance company that the driver has at least the minimum liability coverage. The insurance company will notify MVD immediately if the policy should lapse for any reason. Such a policy is required:
- If the driver is convicted of a DUI and have not satisfied the suspension requirement under the Administrative Per Se law for that same DUI;
- If the driver gets an Implied Consent Suspension; and
- If the driver received a revocation as a result of a second DUI conviction within an 84 month period or a felony DUI. The SR-22 insurance must be held for a period of 3 years.
Don't Go Alone
MVD issues, as well as DUIs, are very serious matters. Your ability to get around on your own is at risk. Robert can help you through the crisis. Robert personally answers his own telephone and he will personally handle your case. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480.860.4321 now for a free initial consultation.
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What Are Some Of The Consequences Of Ignition Interlock Violations
An ignition interlock device will have been installed in one’s vehicle if a driver has been convicted of a DUI offense. When one of these devices are installed in a vehicle, it is best to understand how it works and what to do in the case of ignition interlock violations. Violations will be reported to the Motor Vehicle Department. If a violation is found, the driver is looking at an extension of the ignition interlock device for an additional six months.
Ignition Interlock Violations Explained
When a driver first tries to start the vehicle, he or she must offer a breath sample to the device. If the device registers positive, the driver won’t be able to start the ignition. It is true that the device can register false positives after using mouthwash or even after drinking alcohol several hours before if one’s mouth hasn’t been washed out yet.
If this happens, the driver should document the situation, clean out your mouth, and try again. The violation will be recorded and may be reported. Once driving, the ignition interlock device will periodically require the driver to blow again into the device for more samples. This is to keep the driver from allowing someone else to start the vehicle for them and it makes sure the driver does not drink during the operation of the vehicle. It’s much more serious if the device reports an ignition interlock violation after the vehicle has already been driven.
If there is a violation while driving, the vehicle won’t just stop on the road, because that would be a safety issue. An alarm (e.g., lights flashing) will go off, until the ignition is turned off, or a clean breath sample has been provided.
What If Somebody Else Drives the Vehicle?
If somebody else drives the vehicle, that person still has to offer breath samples to the device. The interlock provider or MVD cannot tell who is driving the vehicle. The vehicle only knows it is being driven by someone. The required driver may still be held responsible for violations so it is very important to log the times when someone else operates the vehicle, even if it’s a spouse or other family member who has permission.
Consequences Of Ignition Interlock Violations
Of course, purpose of the Ignition Interlock Device is to ensure that the driver does not drive a vehicle with alcohol in the system. The device gives you a chance a chance to continue to drive. In some cases, however, the device may report false positives. These devices are far from perfect and error happen that are no fault of the driver. In other cases, somebody else might be operating the vehicle. It’s very important to document the circumstances of any violations that may incur.
The interlock installer will monitor compliance for any tampering, circumvention or refusing a rolling test. Based on the periodic compliance checks, the Motor Vehicle Department may order an extension, with all the additional costs associated with it, for another 6 months. The driver will receive a notice in the mail for an extension of the device. A hearing must be requested within 15 days from that notice in order to contest the extension of the Ignition Interlock device.
Ignition Interlock violations can and should be challenged. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, can assist you through these violations. Robert personally answers his own telephone and he will personally handle your DUI Defense case. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.