Kaufman v. Halikowski – 7/25/2023

August 16, 2023

The Arizona Court of Appeals, Division Two, holds that Arizona law permits ADOT to suspend a driver’s license for excessive violations within a 36-month period even if the convictions and adjudications for the violations occurred outside of the 36-month period.

A man committed nine traffic violations, including a DUI, in 2007 and 2008.  Based on the DUI and other convictions, he was incarcerated for thirteen years.  Some of the violations were not adjudicated until after the man’s release in 2021.  The violations that were adjudicated in 2021 caused ADOT to suspend his license for 12 months for accumulating 24 or more points in a 36-month period.  The man appealed, and the suspension was upheld by an ALJ and the superior court.

The court of appeals also affirmed the suspension.  The man argued that he should not have accumulated points against his license for traffic violations that occurred within the same 36-month period as other violations but were not adjudicated until years later, because Arizona law permits a suspension only after a driver is “convicted of or adjudged” to have committed violations that add up to 24 or more points.  But the court of appeals held that ADOT correctly interpreted the statute to mean that points accrue on the date of a violation, not on the date of adjudication, because the purpose of the statute is to provide for suspension when a driver’s violations have occurred with excessive frequency, not the adjudications of those violations.  The court of appeals rejected the man’s arguments that the penalty violated the doctrine of laches because he did not show unreasonableness or prejudice and because applying the doctrine would violate the public’s interest in regulating driver behavior and protecting highway safety.  The court also rejected the man’s unsubstantiated argument that the penalty was “excessive.”

Judge O’Neil authored this opinion, in which Judges Staring and Sklar joined.

Posted by: Heather Robles