What are Administrative License Revocation Laws?

Administrative License Revocation (ALR), sometimes also known as Administrative License Suspension (ALS), is the removal of a DUI/DWI offender’s driver’s license at the time of an arrest when failing or refusing to submit to a chemical test (including blood, breath and/or urine testing). Drivers are given a notice of suspension, which also serves as a temporary permit to drive. Depending on the state, this permit may be valid for 7 to 90 days, during which time the suspension may be challenged at a hearing. If there is no challenge or if the suspension is upheld, the license is suspended from 7 to 180 days, depending on state law. Longer suspensions are mandated for repeat offenders and drivers who decline testing.

ALR laws are civil administrative processes unrelated to criminal court proceedings and are generally handled through the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles. They do not replace criminal prosecution, which is handled separately through the courts.  Depending on the jurisdiction, additional consequences, including an additional suspension period, can be imposed by the courts if a person is found guilty.

ALR laws are effective in saving lives. Studies show when states pass ALR laws, their fatal late-night crashes, the time when there are more intoxicated drivers on the road, decrease by an average of nine percent. The decrease in crashes results in decreased cost to the state. A study of ALR laws in Illinois, Mississippi, and Nevada found the cost of an ALR program is covered by reinstatement fees and the savings in costs associated with nighttime crashes.  Expenses include the cost of officers and fire departments as well as the vehicles, equipment and supplies used at a crash site.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that all ALR laws impose at least a 90-day suspension or a 30-day suspension followed by 60 days of restricted driving (allowing, for example, driving to work and other specified purposes).

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