8 Questions About The Administrative License Suspension Law

When it comes to the administrative license suspension (ALS) law, the information can be quite confusing to ordinary people. In fact, it’s so confusing people often ask the same questions about the laws. What are the commonly asked questions about the ALS laws?

1 – What Is The ALS Law?

This is when the police can confiscate a driver’s license, either for failing or refusing to take the chemical test for alcohol. Drives get a suspension notice, which is typically temporary. This suspension can last anywhere from seven to 90 days, dependent upon the state.  During this time period, you can challenge the suspension.

If there’s no challenge or suspension is upheld, it may be suspended for a long period of time (first offense is usually 90 days).  Longer suspensions are given to repeat offenders or those folks who refuse to take the test. Bear in mind that the ALS laws don’t replace criminal prosecution. That’s an entirely different matter.

2 – How Are ALS Laws Different From The Conventional License Suspension?

The action to suspend a license is typically started by refusing to undergo the chemical test. Therefore, any person arrested can immediately have their license suspended. People with a suspended license can ask for an immediate administrative hearing to determine the arrest and alcohol testing’s validity.

3 – How Effective Is A License Suspension?

According to several studies, there has been a decrease in re-offending with people who had a judicial or ALS suspension compared to people who never lost their license. Long periods of license suspension could have a bigger impact; Short periods of license suspension may not have limited effects.

4 – Are The ALS Laws Effective?

Studies show ALS laws have a nine percent decrease in amount of drivers involved in fatal alcohol-related accidents. According to another study with 17 states using the ALS (alone or with other laws), the effect of it was a six percent decline in alcohol-related fatal accidents.

5 – What Are The ALS Advantages?

These laws apply to first-time and repeat offenders, and work to immediately remove drivers from the road and apply penalties. The laws tend to have more suspensions than laws demanding a criminal conviction. They can also decrease the chance for future violations. When an ALS-law is publicized, it increases the public’s knowledge for punishment so potential offenders don’t offend.

6 – Do ALS Laws Differ By State?

41 states and District of Columbia have implemented ALS laws but they vary in how penalties are implemented – length of time for temporary license, period to request hearing, suspension length, etc.  Due to difficulties in carrying out administrative hearings, some states have stopped using ALS laws. Such difficulties include:

    •    Case backlogs
    •    Conflict schedules
    •    Technicalities

Some states do allow for hardship licenses that allow offenders to drive to work. However, studies show suspended drivers don’t often lose their jobs. According to a four-state study, the ALS’ impact on income and employment found that there was no big impact on them.

7 – Are These Laws Constitutional?

ALS laws are constitutional. Courts have said that even though licenses are taken away before the hearing, there is a due process because it does allow for immediate post-suspension hearings. Many defendants claim double jeopardy because the Constitution forbids states from prosecuting offenders that has had their license suspended under the ALS. High courts have not agreed with this.

8 – Are There High Costs Associated With ALS Laws?

These laws tend to pay for themselves. In the majority of states, drivers with a suspended license must pay the reinstatement fee to get their license back. The fees can cover or surpass the program’s cost.