§ 31-11-7. Authority of division of motor vehicles to suspend license.
(a)(1) The division of motor vehicles is authorized to suspend the license of an operator or chauffeur without preliminary hearing upon a showing by its records or other sufficient evidence that the licensee:
(i) Has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to have:
(A) Committed an offense for which mandatory revocation or suspension of license is required upon conviction or adjudication;
(B) Committed with such frequency of offenses against traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles as to indicate a disrespect for traffic laws and a disregard for the safety of other persons on the highways;
(C) Been a reckless or negligent driver of a motor vehicle;
(D) Permitted an unlawful or fraudulent use of a license;
(E) Committed an offense in another state which, if committed in this state, would be grounds for suspension or revocation;
(F) Committed any offense enumerated in § 31-9-1;
(ii) Is the subject of an order issued pursuant to § 14-1-67; or
(iii) Poses an imminent safety risk to the general public as determined by the application of objectively ascertainable standards.
(2) Except for paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection, the suspension shall be for any length of time, not exceeding one year, that the division of motor vehicles shall determine is necessary in order to protect public safety based upon its findings of the circumstances under which the offense was committed, the likelihood of recurrence, and the deterrent effect that might reasonably be expected to result from the hardship a suspension or prospective suspension would entail. Any license suspended pursuant to paragraph (1)(ii) of this subsection shall be for the length of time set forth in the court order.
(b) Upon suspending the license of any person as authorized by subsection (a) of this section, the division of motor vehicles shall immediately notify the licensee in writing of the factual and legal basis for the suspension, the procedure for requesting a hearing, and the rights afforded the individual pursuant to subsections (d) — (f) of this section. When physical or mental fitness is the basis for the suspension determination, the notice shall reference the specific functional standard promulgated pursuant to § 31-10-44(b), which was relied upon by the division of motor vehicles. Upon his or her request the division of motor vehicles shall afford the licensee an opportunity for a hearing as early as practical and no later than twenty (20) days after receipt of the request.
(c) Except as authorized in subsection (a) of this section, whenever the division of motor vehicles proposes to suspend the license of any person, the division of motor vehicles shall afford a hearing to the licensee prior to suspending the person’s license. When a licensee requests a hearing, no action to suspend his or her license shall be taken until a hearing decision has been rendered in accordance with subsections (d) — (f) of this section. The division of motor vehicles shall notify the licensee in writing of the factual and legal basis for the proposed suspension, the procedure for requesting a hearing, and the rights afforded the individual pursuant to subsections (d) — (f) of this section. When physical or mental fitness is the basis for the suspension recommendation, the notice shall reference the specific functional standard promulgated pursuant to § 31-10-44(b), which was relied upon by the division of motor vehicles.
(d) The division of motor vehicles shall ensure that the hearing procedures afforded pursuant to subsection (b) and (c) of this section provide for: (1) an in person hearing before an impartial decision-maker; (2) the opportunity to compel the production of documents and witnesses, including members of the division of motor vehicles ’s Medical Advisory Board; (3) the opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses; (4) access to all of the evidence upon which the division of motor vehicles relied in making its determination to suspend; and (5) the right to present any and all relevant evidence including the right to obtain and present the results of a recently administered road test. During any hearing, the division of motor vehicles shall bear the burden of proof as to the existence of the grounds for the suspension. The division of motor vehicles shall further ensure that during a hearing to determine the physical or mental fitness of a licensee, proof of the lack of physical or mental fitness shall be by clear and convincing evidence. The presumption of inability to operate a motor vehicle with safety established by the functional standards promulgated pursuant to § 31-10-44(b), shall be rebuttable by evidence that notwithstanding an individual’s functional limitation, he or she is able to safely operate a motor vehicle.
(e) For the purpose of the hearing procedures described in subsection (d) of this section, the administrator of the division of motor vehicles or his or her duly authorized agent may administer oaths and may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant books and papers, and may require a reexamination of the licensee.
(f) After the hearing conducted pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the division of motor vehicles shall issue a written decision based solely on the evidence adduced at the hearing and containing the legal and factual basis for the determination. The division of motor vehicles may either rescind its order of suspension, determine suspension is not warranted; may continue, modify, or extend the suspension of the license; or may revoke the license.
History of Section.
P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 16, § 6; G.L. 1956, §§ 31-11-17, 31-11-21; P.L. 1959 (s.s.), ch. 190, § 4; G.L. 1956, § 31-11-7; P.L. 1962, ch. 204, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 229, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 196, § 3; P.L. 1986, ch. 494, § 3; P.L. 1998, ch. 89, § 4.