Administrative License Suspension Laws and Your Rights

In the early 1980s hundreds of state laws intended to target drunk driving were enacted. Of these laws, some of the most relevant ones were the administrative license suspension laws, or ALS laws. These laws are now in place in forty one states and the District of Columbia.Administrative license suspension laws give police officers the authority to confiscate the licenses of drivers who fail or refuse to take blood alcohol level tests.Facts about ALS LawsThese laws vary from state to state, but some common facts about the laws include:

Drivers are given a notice of suspension–this notice also serves as a temporary driving permit until further proceedings
The temporary issued permit is typically valid for 7 to 90 days depending on when the suspension is challenged.
If there is no challenge or the judge decides to uphold the suspension, the license may be suspended for a specific period of time; upheld suspensions vary among jurisdictions from 2 days to a year for first time offenders.
Significantly longer suspensions are possible for repeat offenders. It is also important to realize that these laws do not replace criminal prosecution for drunk driving but are instead handled separately through the courts.

The administrative license suspension laws are different from traditional license suspension in that a license can be suspended simply by failing or refusing to take an alcohol test–there is not conviction required. Because no conviction is required, many people have questioned the constitutional validity of these laws. In particular, dissenters have argued that the additional criminal prosecution following ALS could be viewed as double jeopardy.It is best to pursue with caution after having a license suspended through the administrative license suspension laws. Contacting an experienced DUI lawyer about the situation is the best way to ensure that your freedoms are upheld.

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