ADLRO CASE: GENERAL INFORMATION

    The Administrative Drivers License Revocation Office ("the ADLRO") is a State agency that reviews your DUI arrest reports and other associated records and then decides whether your privilege to drive in Hawaii will be administratively revoked.  If the ADLRO revokes your driving privileges, you will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle (i.e. any car, truck, motorcyle or moped) on on any of Hawaii's public roads and highways during the revocation without an ignition interlock device (an exception can be made for you to drive your employer's vehicle without an interlock if certian conditions are met) .  The criminal case is criminal proceeding conducted in a state or federal court.  The ADLRO case is a civil proceeding conducted by a state administrative agency - i.e. the ADLRO.  

    The ADLRO case is separate and almost entirely independent from any criminal case that was generated by your DUI arrest.  It may be useful to think of it as the first of two bullets that are being shot at your driving privileges and driving record.  Even if you were to win your criminal case, your driving privileges will still be revoked, unless you win your ADLRO case as well.  If you lose your ADLRO case, your driving record will be damaged permanently with an entry showing an administrative revocation for DUI.  There are many good reasons to fight an ADLRO case and even seemingly indefensible cases can sometimes be won by using a "subpoena fest" defense.  

    If you had a valid driver's license in your possession at the time of your arrest, the arresting officer probably took it away from you. You should have been given a document entitled "Notice of Administrative License Revocation" which: (1) serves as a temporary driver's license for a period of 30 days; (2) notifies you that your driving privileges may be administratively revoked, with the period of revocation commencing on a date 30 days after the date of your arrest (for a DUI alcohol case); and (3) provides you with information about the administrative revocation process, your rights, and your responsibilities if you wish to assert certain rights. See HRS 291E-33 and 291E-34. If you do nothing to fight it, the revocation will usually commence 30 days after the date of your arrest. If the revocation is not reversed, a record of your arrest, and the administrative revocation for DUI that followed it, will probably remain on your driving record for at least ten years.

    When you were in custody, you may be given a form by the arresting officer entitled "Request To Reconsider Administrative Revocation Of Driver's License." It invites you to make a written statement concerning the reasons why you believe that your driving privileges should not be revoked. Mr. Mac Master usually advises his clients to toss the form into the nearest trash can. He then tells them that the form should be entitled "Request To Give The ADLRO More Rope To Hang You With" because that is what some poor unfortunate souls do when they fill it out and hand it in the ADLRO. The unadvised usually do at least one of two things when filling it out: (1) write about how desperately they need their driving privileges and how much hardship they will suffer if a revocation is imposed; and/or (2) write about the facts and circumstances of the arrest. The first approach is futile, but usually harmless. The amount of hardship an arrestee will suffer is simply not a factor that the ADLRO is statutorily permitted to consider when determining whether a revocation will be imposed. The second approach is also usually futile, and possibly even harmful. By writing about anything that happened at the time of the arrest, you may make an admission that will plug up an otherwise fatal hole in the evidentiary record for your case (e.g. you may admit that you were the driver of the vehicle, that you committed a traffic violation that gave the police "reasonable suspicion" to stop your vehicle", that you consumed alcohol, etc.). If you haven't already been exercising the right to remain silent, the "Request To Give The ADLRO More Rope To Hang You With" form may be a good place to start doing so. 

    Within eight days after the date the Notice of Administrative License Revocation was issued (which is usually "issued" on the same day as the date of the arrest), the ADLRO was required to have mailed you a document entitled "Notice Of Administrative Review Decision." The Administrative Review Decision must be mailed to you within this eight-day period, unless the last day of the eight-day period is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday. If the last day of the eight-day period is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, then the deadline is the next business day. This method of computing time periods by excluding the last day if it is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday is prescribed by statute. See HRS 291E-46. It is important to compute time periods correctly, because if the ADLRO misses a mandatory deadline, like the deadline for mailing the Administrative Review Decision, there may be grounds to get the revocation reversed.

    The Administrative Review Decision will inform you of the result of the ADLRO's preliminary administrative review of the paperwork that the police prepared for your arrest. When you were arrested, the police should have prepared paperwork documenting the events that prompted the arrest. If you took a breath test, or a blood test, there should also be paperwork concerning the conducting of the test and the procedures that were followed to verify its accuracy. Some of this paperwork will be in the form of a "sworn statement." Sworn statements made by the arresting officer, the person who conducted the alcohol concentration test, and the person who the person responsible for maintenance of the testing equipment must meet certain statutory requirements. See HRS 291E-36.

    HRS 291E-37 governs the preliminary administrative review. It states:

Administrative review; procedures; decision. (a) The director automatically shall review the issuance of a notice of administrative revocation and shall issue a written decision administratively revoking the license and privilege to operate a vehicle, and motor vehicle registration if applicable, or rescinding the notice of administrative revocation. The written review decision shall be mailed to the respondent, or to the parent or guardian of the respondent if the respondent is under the age of eighteen, no later than:

(1) Eight days after the date the notice was issued in a case involving an alcohol related offense; or

(2) Twenty-two days after the date the notice was issued in a case involving a drug related offense.

    In most cases, the preliminary administrative review is little more than a rubber stamp on the arrest. The ADLRO usually will not issue a written decision "rescinding the notice of administrative revocation" and return the arrestee's license unless there is a blatantly obvious defect in the paperwork, or procedures that have been followed up to that point. If the police have done a minimally competent job of writing up the paperwork for the case, there will probably be more than enough evidence in their "sworn statements" to support an ADLRO revocation. Consequently, if the you do not want to live with the consequences of an administrative revocation, both short-term and long-term, you will probably have to request a hearing and fight the ADLRO case.

    The letter that ADLRO mails out containing the Administrative Review Decision should also contain a form for requesting a hearing. You can request a hearing by checking the appropriate box on the form and mailing it to the ADLRO. If you retain Mr. Mac Master as your attorney, he can make the hearing request for you. It is always important to act in a timely manner. If you wait too long to request a hearing, you can lose:

    1. Your right to have a hearing within 25 days after the date the Notice of Administrative

         License Revocation was issued (and before the revocation goes into effect); and

    2. Your right to have any hearing. 

    You have the right to review and copy all documents considered at the [preliminary administrative] review, including the arrest report and the sworn statements of the law enforcement officials.  Copies of the paperwork that the police prepared for your arrest, a printout of your driving record and the ADLRO's own documents regarding your case, can usually be obtained free of charge from the ADLRO.  With the written permission of a client, or potential client, Mr. Mac Master can obtain copies of these records for the client.  Alternatively, Mr. Mac Master often suggests that potential clients can do the following:

1.    Go to the ADLRO's office at 2875 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii.

2.    Request copies of the "Entire File" - if ADLRO has a piece of paper in the potential client's file - then Mr. Mac Master wants to see a copy of it;

3.    The potential client makes another copy of each document that the ADLRO has given to the potential client - so the potential client can keep the set that the ADLRO provided - and there will also be a second set of copies that can be given to Mr. Mac Master;  

4.     The potential client writes his/her phone number on the set of copies for Mr. Mac Master; and 

5.    Slips the copies for Mr. Mac Master under the front door of Mr. Mac Master's office - there is approximately 3/4 of an inch of space open underneath the door for this purpose - and the Executive Center building is open to the public 24 hours a day - seven days a week.

    After receiving a set of records, Mr. Mac Master can evaluate the records and determine whether there have been any technical defects in the preparation of the paperwork which could serve as grounds for a reversal of the revocation. Such technical defects usually have nothing whatsoever to do with whether the arrestee is truly innocent. Instead, the focus is on whether the police, and the ADLRO, followed proper procedures and have complied with applicable statutory requirements.

    A DUI arrest can put you in an expensive and emotionally depressing situation. However, two things are truly FREE: (1) the ADLRO will provide copies of the arrest reports free of charge; and (2) Mr. Mac Master will take a look at them for you free of charge and tell you what he thinks about them. 

    If you want to fight the ADLRO's decision to revoke your driving privileges, you must make a timely request for an ADLRO hearing.

    An ADLRO hearing is conducted, and decided, by a hearing officer who has been appointed by the Director of the ADLRO. The conducting of the hearing is governed by 291E-38 which states:

291E-38  Administrative hearing; procedure; decision.  (a)  If the director administratively revokes the respondent's license and privilege to operate a vehicle, and motor vehicle registration if applicable, after the administrative review, the respondent may request an administrative hearing to review the decision within six days of the date the administrative review decision is mailed.  If the request for hearing is received by the director within six days of the date the decision is mailed, the hearing shall be scheduled to commence no later than:

     (1)  Twenty-five days from the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued in a case involving an alcohol related offense; or

     (2)  Thirty-nine days from the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued in a case involving a drug related offense.

The director may continue the hearing only as provided in subsection (k).

     (b)  The hearing shall be held at a place designated by the director, as close to the location where the notice of administrative revocation was issued as practical.

     (c)  The respondent may be represented by counsel and, if the respondent is under the age of eighteen, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

     (d)  The director shall conduct the hearing and have authority to:

     (1)  Administer oaths and affirmations;

     (2)  Examine witnesses and take testimony;

     (3)  Receive and determine the relevance of evidence;

     (4)  Issue subpoenas;

     (5)  Regulate the course and conduct of the hearing;

     (6)  Impose up to the maximum license revocation period as specified under section 291E‑41(b); and

     (7)  Make a final ruling.

     (e)  The director shall affirm the administrative revocation only if the director determines that:

     (1)  There existed reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle, the vehicle was stopped at an intoxicant control roadblock established and operated in compliance with sections 291E‑19 and 291E‑20, or the person was tested pursuant to section 291E‑21;

     (2)  There existed probable cause to believe that the respondent operated the vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant; and

     (3)  The evidence proves by a preponderance that:

         (A)  The respondent operated the vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant; or

         (B)  The respondent operated the vehicle and refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test after being informed:

              (i)  That the person may refuse to submit to testing in compliance with section 291E-11; and

             (ii)  Of the sanctions of this part and then asked if the person still refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test in compliance with the requirements of section 291E-15.

     (f)  In addition to subsection (e), the director shall affirm the administrative revocation of the registration of any motor vehicle owned by or registered to the respondent only if the director determines that the respondent is a repeat intoxicated driver.  If the director affirms the administrative revocation pursuant to this subsection, the director shall order the respondent to surrender the number plates and motor vehicle registration of any motor vehicle owned by or registered to the respondent.  The director may destroy any number plates taken into custody.

     (g)  The respondent's prior alcohol and drug enforcement contacts shall be entered into evidence.

     (h)  The sworn statements provided in section 291E-36 shall be admitted into evidence.  The director shall consider the sworn statements in the absence of the law enforcement officer or other person.  Upon written notice to the director, no later than five days prior to the hearing, that the respondent wishes to examine a law enforcement officer or other person who made a sworn statement, the director shall issue a subpoena for the officer or other person to appear at the hearing.  Personal service upon the law enforcement officer or other person who made a sworn statement shall be made no later than forty-eight hours prior to the hearing time.  If the officer or other person cannot appear, the officer or other person at the discretion of the director, may testify by telephone.

     (i)  The hearing shall be recorded in a manner to be determined by the director.

     (j)  The director's decision shall be rendered in writing and mailed to the respondent, or to the parent or guardian of the respondent if the respondent is under the age of eighteen, no later than five days after the hearing is concluded.  If the decision is to reverse the administrative revocation, the director shall return the respondent's license, and if applicable, motor vehicle registration and any number plates taken into custody, along with a certified statement that administrative revocation proceedings have been terminated.  If the decision sustains the administrative revocation, the director shall mail to the respondent a written decision indicating the duration of the administrative revocation and any other conditions or restrictions as may be imposed pursuant to section 291E‑41.

     (k)  For good cause shown, the director may grant a continuance either of the commencement of the hearing or of a hearing that has already commenced.  If a continuance is granted at the request of the director, the director shall extend the validity of the temporary permit, and temporary motor vehicle registration and temporary number plates if applicable, unless otherwise prohibited, for a period not to exceed the period of the continuance.  If a continuance is granted at the request of the respondent, the director shall not extend the validity of the temporary permit, or temporary motor vehicle registration and temporary number plates, if applicable.  For purposes of this section, a continuance means a delay in the commencement of the hearing or an interruption of a hearing that has commenced, other than for recesses during the day or at the end of the day or week.  The absence from the hearing of a law enforcement officer or other person, upon whom personal service of a subpoena has been made as set forth in subsection (h), constitutes good cause for a continuance.

     (l)  The director may grant a special motor vehicle registration, pursuant to section 291E-48, to a qualified household member or a co-owner of any motor vehicle upon determination that:

     (1)  The person is completely dependent on the motor vehicle for the necessities of life; and

     (2)  At the time of the application for a special motor vehicle registration, the respondent does not have a valid ignition interlock permit.

The special motor vehicle registration shall not be valid for use by the respondent.

     (m)  If the respondent fails to appear at the hearing, or if a respondent under the age of eighteen fails to appear with a parent or guardian, administrative revocation shall take effect for the period and under the conditions established by the director in the administrative review decision issued by the director under section 291E‑37.

    If you are truly innocent, it may be possible to successfully defend your ADLRO case or its merits. 

    Even if you were driving under the influence when you were arrested, your case may still be able to be defended successfully.

    Certain legal issues may arise during the course of an ADLRO case that can be successfully exploited by a capable attorney, like Mr. Mac Master. Such issues may not be seen, or understood, by a lay person, or even by an attorney without knowledge and sufficient experience in DUI cases. If you, attempt to fight and ADLRO revocation by representing yourself at an ADLRO hearing, or fail to retain a capable attorney, you may be heading like a proverbial "lamb to the slaughter". 

    The overwhelming majority of persons arrested for DUI, and the overwhelming majority of Mr. Mac Master's clients for that matter, are not amongst the ranks of the "unjustly accused." Most cases have alcohol concentration tests well over the legal limit, problematic performance of the field sobriety tests and other less than helpful evidence about the arrestee's physical appearance, actions and driving. However, Mr. Mac Master's general strategy is almost always the same:

    1. Find a way to get the client off the hook; or

    2. At the very least, do what can be done to minimize the damage.

    If after the hearing, the ADLRO issues a Decision affirming the revocation, the Decison will also state what period of time the revocation will remain in effect. HRS
291E-41states:

Effective date, conditions, and period of administrative revocation; criteria.  (a)  Unless an administrative revocation is reversed or the temporary permit, and temporary motor vehicle registration and temporary number plates, if applicable, are extended by the director, administrative revocation shall become effective on the day specified in the notice of administrative revocation.  Except as provided in section 291E-44.5, no license and privilege to operate a vehicle shall be restored under any circumstances during the administrative revocation period.  Upon completion of the administrative revocation period, the respondent may reapply and be reissued a license pursuant to section 291E-45.

     (b)  Except as provided in paragraph (5) and in section 291E-44.5, the respondent shall keep an ignition interlock device installed and operating in any vehicle the respondent operates during the revocation period.  Except as provided in section 291E-5, installation and maintenance of the ignition interlock device shall be at the respondent's own expense.  The periods of administrative revocation with respect to a license and privilege to operate a vehicle, and motor vehicle registration if applicable, that shall be imposed under this part are as follows:

     (1)  A one year revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle, if the respondent's record shows no prior alcohol enforcement contact or drug enforcement contact during the five years preceding the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued;

     (2)  An eighteen month revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle and of the registration of any motor vehicle registered to the respondent, if the respondent's record shows one prior alcohol enforcement contact or drug enforcement contact during the five years preceding the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued;

     (3)  A two-year revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle and of the registration of any motor vehicle registered to the respondent, if the respondent's record shows two prior alcohol enforcement contacts or drug enforcement contacts during the five years preceding the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued;

     (4)  A minimum of five years up to a maximum of ten years revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle and of the registration of any motor vehicle registered to the respondent, if the respondent's record shows three or more prior alcohol enforcement contacts or drug enforcement contacts during the ten years preceding the date the notice of administrative revocation was issued;

     (5)  For respondents under the age of eighteen years who were arrested for a violation of section 291E-61 or 291E-61.5, revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle for the appropriate revocation period provided in paragraphs (1) to (4) or in subsection (d); provided that the respondent shall be prohibited from driving during the period preceding the respondent's eighteenth birthday and shall thereafter be subject to the ignition interlock requirement of this subsection for the balance of the revocation period; or

     (6)  For respondents, other than those excepted pursuant to section [291E-44.5(b)], who do not install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle the respondent operates during the revocation period, revocation of license and privilege to operate a vehicle for the period of revocation provided in paragraphs (1) to (5) or in subsection [(d)]; provided that:

         (A)  The respondent shall be absolutely prohibited from driving during the revocation period and subject to the penalties provided by section 291E-62 if the respondent drives during the revocation period; and

         (B)  The director shall not issue an ignition interlock permit to the respondent pursuant to section 291E-44.5;

provided that when more than one administrative revocation, suspension, or conviction arises out of the same arrest, it shall be counted as only one prior alcohol enforcement contact or drug enforcement contact, whichever revocation, suspension, or conviction occurs later.

     (c)  Whenever a motor vehicle registration is revoked under this part, the director shall cause the revocation to be entered electronically into the motor vehicle registration file of the respondent.

     (d)  If a respondent has refused to be tested after being informed:

     (1)  That the person may refuse to submit to testing in compliance with section 291E-11; and

     (2)  Of the sanctions of this part and then asked if the person still refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, in compliance with the requirements of section 291E-15,

the revocation imposed under subsection (b)(1), (2), (3), or (4) shall be for a period of two years, three years, four years, and ten years, respectively.

     (e)  Whenever a license and privilege to operate a vehicle is administratively revoked under this part, the respondent shall be referred to the driver's education program for an assessment, by a certified substance abuse counselor, of the respondent's substance abuse or dependence and the need for treatment.  The counselor shall submit a report with recommendations to the director.  If the counselor's assessment establishes that the extent of the respondent's substance abuse or dependence warrants treatment, the director shall so order.  All costs for assessment and treatment shall be paid by the respondent.

     (f)  Alcohol and drug enforcement contacts that occurred prior to January 1, 2002, shall be counted in determining the administrative revocation period.

     (g)  The requirement to provide proof of financial responsibility pursuant to section 287-20 shall not be based upon a revocation under subsection (b)(1).

    If after the hearing, the ADLRO issues a Decision affirming the revocation, in addition to having your driving privileges revoked, the ADLRO will also order you to report to the office of the County Division Of Driver's Education, for the county in which you live, to make an appointment to have an alcohol assessment done. The County Division Of Driver's Education, will help you to make an appointment to be interviewed and assessed by an alcohol abuse counselor. Getting the assessment done, and completing any recommended counseling, outpatient treatment, or even inpatient treatment for alcohol abuse, if any, will be a prerequisite to being deemed eligible for relicensing at the end of the revocation period.


    In your criminal case, you are innocent until proven guilty. If the ADLRO issues an Administrative Review Decision that revokes your driving privileges, you will be treated as if you are guilty unless you fight to establish your innocence. The only way to completely protect your driving privileges is to win both your criminal case and your ADLRO case. If you fail to get the administrative revocation of your driving privileges reversed, you will lose your driving privileges and have a DUI revocation on your driving record, even if you later win your criminal case.

Contact Mr. Mac Master today to discuss these important issues!

(808) 531-8080

click below to send e-mail to Mr. Mac Master

alohaleg@pixi.com


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