Losing Your License After a DUI Conviction

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Can you lose your license after a DUI conviction?

Facing a DUI charge in Arizona can be a daunting experience, with potential consequences that extend beyond legal penalties. One significant concern for many is the impact of a DUI conviction on their driving privileges. In Arizona, DUI convictions carry serious implications for your driver’s license.

According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in 2021, there were over 19,000 DUI arrests in Arizona, highlighting the prevalence of DUI issues and the importance of understanding the legal consequences, including the impact on driving privileges.

This article will cover the following topics:

impact of DUI conviction

The Impact of a DUI Conviction on Your Driver’s License

First Offense DUI (ARS §28-1381(A)(1)): For a standard first DUI offense, the license suspension period is typically 90 days. However, after 30 days of complete suspension, you may be eligible for a restricted license for the remaining 60 days, allowing limited driving, like commuting to work or attending court-ordered treatment programs.

Extreme DUI (ARS §28-1382): If the DUI involves a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% or higher but less than 0.20%, it’s classified as an Extreme DUI. The license suspension for an Extreme DUI can be for at least 30 days of no driving, followed by a 60-day period of restricted driving privileges. For a BAC of 0.20% or more (Super Extreme DUI), the suspension is typically 45 days of no driving, followed by 75 days of restricted privileges.

Aggravated DUI (ARS §28-1383): This category includes more severe cases, such as a third DUI within 84 months, DUI while driving on a suspended/revoked license, or DUI with a passenger under 15 years old. Aggravated DUI usually leads to a license revocation for at least one year, with reinstatement contingent on fulfilling specific requirements like installing an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and completing DUI education programs.

Beyond the immediate suspension or revocation of driving privileges, a DUI conviction can also entail other consequences such as fines, jail time, mandatory installation of an IID, increased insurance costs, and participation in alcohol education or treatment programs. The extent of these penalties varies based on the specifics of the offense and any prior DUI history.

How to Get Your License Reinstated After a DUI Conviction in Arizona

Regaining your driving privileges after a DUI conviction in Arizona involves several crucial steps. The process, governed by Arizona law, requires careful adherence to legal requirements and procedures. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps and considerations in the license reinstatement process:

Understanding the Reinstatement Requirements

  • Completion of Suspension Period: The first and most obvious requirement is the completion of the suspension period imposed by the court.
  • Fulfillment of Court Orders: This includes completing any court-ordered DUI education or treatment programs. Proof of completion is necessary for reinstatement.
  • Payment of Fines and Fees: You must pay all fines associated with your DUI conviction, as well as a reinstatement fee to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

Mandatory Alcohol/Drug Screening and Education

  • Screening and Treatment: As per ARS §28-3319, DUI offenders are often required to undergo alcohol or drug screening. Based on the screening results, you might need to attend additional education or treatment programs.
  • Education Programs: These programs aim to educate offenders about the risks of impaired driving and are a vital part of the reinstatement process.

Financial Responsibility and SR-22 Insurance

  • SR-22 Insurance: You will need to provide proof of financial responsibility, typically in the form of an SR-22 insurance certificate. This is a document your insurance company files with ADOT to confirm you have the required insurance coverage.
  • Maintaining SR-22 Insurance: It’s important to maintain your SR-22 insurance for the period specified by the court, which is usually three years.

Installation and Maintenance of Ignition Interlock Device (IID)

  • IID Requirement: Under ARS §28-1464, most DUI offenders are required to install an IID in their vehicles as a condition for license reinstatement.
  • Regular Maintenance and Calibration: The IID must be regularly maintained and calibrated to ensure proper functioning.

Application for Reinstatement

  • Formal Application: Once all conditions are met, you must apply for license reinstatement with ADOT. This includes submitting all required documentation and paying any applicable fees.
  • Administrative Review: ADOT will review your application to ensure all reinstatement conditions have been met. If everything is in order, your driving privileges will be reinstated.

Legal Assistance

  • Consulting a DUI Attorney: It’s advisable to consult with a DUI attorney to navigate the reinstatement process. An attorney can provide guidance on meeting all legal requirements and ensuring that you complete each step correctly.


What is License Revocation?

License revocation in Arizona, particularly following a DUI conviction, is a severe penalty that entails the complete termination of your driver’s license.

Unlike suspension, which is a temporary withdrawal, revocation signifies a more serious violation or series of violations. Key reasons for revocation in DUI cases include aggravated DUI (as defined under ARS §28-1383), refusal to submit to BAC testing in line with Arizona’s implied consent law (ARS §28-1321), or DUI incidents resulting in serious injury or fatality.

The minimum period of revocation is typically one year, but it can be extended based on the offense’s severity and the driver’s history.

After the revocation period, you must apply for a new license, undergoing the full licensing process, including exams. Additionally, fulfilling court-ordered programs, providing proof of financial responsibility (typically through SR-22 insurance), and potentially installing an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) are prerequisites for reinstatement.

Given the complexity and seriousness of license revocation, legal representation is highly advisable. A skilled DUI attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements and improving your chances of regaining driving privileges.

 DUI impact on commercial driver

The Impact of a DUI on Commercial Drivers Licenses 

Commercial drivers in Arizona face particularly stringent consequences when it comes to DUI offenses, given the higher standards they are held to due to the nature of their profession. The impact of a DUI on a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and career can be far-reaching and more severe than for standard license holders.

Increased Standards and Lower BAC Limits

  • Lower BAC Threshold: For commercial drivers, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04%, half of the standard limit for non-commercial drivers, as per ARS §28-1381.
  • Zero Tolerance Policy: Commercial drivers are often subject to a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol consumption while operating a commercial vehicle.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers Convicted of DUI

  • Immediate Out-of-Service: A commercial driver found with a BAC above the legal limit or refusing a BAC test is immediately placed out-of-service for 24 hours.
  • License Suspension: A DUI conviction leads to a suspension of the CDL, which can be for a minimum of one year, and is often longer for repeat offenses or severe incidents.
  • Permanent Disqualification: Certain DUI offenses, like repeat convictions or causing a fatality while DUI, can lead to permanent disqualification from holding a CDL.

Impact on Employment and Career

  • Job Loss and Career Implications: A DUI conviction can result in immediate job loss and significant challenges in finding future employment in commercial driving.
  • Insurance Hikes and Employability: Even after reinstatement, commercial drivers may face higher insurance premiums and hesitancy from employers to hire them due to the DUI on their record.

Can I Appeal a Suspension or Revocation of My License?

If you’re facing a license suspension or revocation following a DUI conviction in Arizona, you have the right to appeal this decision. However, it’s essential to be aware of the specific details and requirements of the appeal process.

Appeals must be filed within a tight timeframe, typically within 15 days of receiving the suspension or revocation notice.

It’s important to note that the appeal process is administrative and distinct from the criminal court proceedings related to the DUI charge.

The appeal itself involves challenging the basis of the suspension or revocation. This might include disputing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level reported, questioning the legality of the traffic stop, or highlighting procedural errors during the arrest process. The process generally includes an administrative hearing, which is less formal than a criminal trial but still requires a well-prepared presentation of evidence and legal arguments.

dui on your record

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

Understanding the duration a DUI remains on your record is crucial for those convicted of a DUI in Arizona. This information is not only important for personal knowledge but also impacts future legal and insurance considerations.

In Arizona, a DUI conviction becomes a permanent part of your criminal record.

Unlike some other states where DUI offenses can be expunged or sealed after a certain period, Arizona law does not offer this provision for DUI convictions. This means that a DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record indefinitely.

Additionally, in terms of driving records, a DUI conviction will typically stay on your Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) record for five years. This period is significant because it affects your insurance premiums and eligibility for certain types of driving privileges. Insurance companies generally look at your driving record when determining rates, and a DUI can result in substantially higher premiums.

Moreover, the duration a DUI stays on your record also influences future legal consequences in the event of subsequent DUI offenses.

Arizona law considers any DUI offenses that occur within a 7-year period (84 months) when determining penalties.

Therefore, a second DUI offense within this time frame is treated more harshly than a first offense.



How a DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You

Top Arizona DUI Defense Attorney Arja Shah Attorney Arja Shah, leading the Shah Law Firm, brings a wealth of experience to the table for those facing DUI charges in Arizona. With a focus on personalized service, she understands the significant impact a DUI charge has on an individual’s life and offers more than just legal expertise. Her approach involves guiding clients through the legal intricacies and emotional challenges of their DUI cases.

Shah’s experience in criminal defense is extensive, including managing complicated legal issues and suppressing evidence. Her dedication to client needs makes her an invaluable resource in DUI charges, from mitigating penalties to challenging evidence. For assistance, you can reach the Shah Law Firm at (602) 560-7408

Additionally, Arja Shah offers a free consultation to discuss case specifics and strategize the best course of action. 

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