DUI License Suspension

DUI License Suspension

In Arizona, people who are arrested for DUI and refuse to participate in blood breath or urine testing or alternatively, take a blood or breath test and have an alcohol concentration above .08, face an automatic suspension of their driver's license.

This driver's license suspension, also known as an administrative license suspension, is a civil penalty which is separate and apart from any consequences imposed by the court. Moreover, these license suspensions many still occur even if the underlying DUI charge is dismissed.

There is only a very short period of time to request a hearing and attempt to avoid losing your license once you are served with, or receive notice of an administrative driver's license suspension which results from a DUI arrest. Consequently, people should immediately hire an experienced DUI defense attorney to protect their driver's license.


Every driver in Arizona who operates a motor vehicle on a public road gives their implied consent to

submit to a chemical test as chosen by a police officer if they are arrested for DUI.

People who are arrested for DUI can have their license suspended in two ways.  The first is by refusing to take a blood, breath or urine test.  The second is by having a blood alcohol concentration above 08.

Any failure to expressly agree to take a chemical test or to successfully complete a test is considered a refusal under Arizona law. The license suspension periods for refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test in Arizona are:

  •  One year for a first suspension
  •  Two years for a second or subsequent refusal within a period of 84 months.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1321 also states an individual who takes a chemical alcohol test, but fails to pass by having an alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher can receive a license suspension for 90 days.  In most cases, people whose licenses have been suspended may be eligible for a restricted or work permit after the first 30 days of the suspension are served.


If an individual has received an administrative license suspension for alcohol testing refusal or for failing to pass a chemical test, they can submit a written request for a hearing to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) under ARS § 28-1321(F)(2). The individual only has 15 days after receiving notice of the suspension to submit this request. Therefore, immediately after an arrest, it is very important to contact a DUI lawyer to help you request this hearing.

If the request for the hearing is timely submitted, the Department of Transportation is required to hold a

hearing within 30 days of receiving the request. The license suspension will also be placed on hold until after a

decision has been made by the administrative law judge at the hearing.


The issues addressed at a DUI license suspension hearing are very limited.  These include whether:

  • The law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe the alleged offender was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle either:
  • While under the influence of liquor or drugs, or
  •  If an individual under the age of 21 had any liquor in their system;
  • The individual was placed under arrest;
  • The alleged offender refused to submit to testing; and
  • The alleged offender was informed of the consequences for refusing to submit to chemical testing. Or, the individual completed a test and there was an alcohol concentration above .08.


If the administrative law judge determines the suspension should be sustained or upheld at the hearing,   a person will lose their license between 30 days and two years.  There is a right to appeal the decision to the superior court. In cases where the suspension is not sustained after the hearing because there was insufficient evidence to suspend the individual's license, they will be able to maintain their driving privileges.

When an offender's license suspension is sustained, they are required to first take and complete an alcohol or drug screening course before they are permitted to reinstate their license after the suspension period has ended.