Forino v. Arizona Dep't of Transp

In Forino v. Arizona Dep't of Transp., 191 Ariz. 77, 79, 952 P.2d 315, 317 (App. 1997), a DUI arrestee had been issued an order of suspension and timely requested a hearing on his license suspension. At that time, the pertinent statute provided that the license suspension hearing "shall" be held no later than "thirty days after receipt of the request" for hearing. 1994 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 317, 19. The DOT, however, failed to hold the hearing within thirty days of Forino's request. The court held that the statutory language was directory and, as such, the failure to hold the license suspension hearing within the statutory time period did not divest DOT of jurisdiction to conduct the hearing and ultimately suspend Forino's driver's license. Forino, 191 Ariz. at 81, 952 P.2d at 319. The Court held that the failure of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) "to conduct the suspension hearing within the thirty-day time period did not divest the agency of jurisdiction." 191 Ariz. at 81, 952 P.2d at 319. The issue was whether ADOT retained jurisdiction to suspend a driver's license after failing to timely conduct a hearing in accordance with the governing statute. Id. at 79, 952 P.2d at 317. The statute employed the word "shall" in prescribing a maximum thirty-day time limit for conducting requested hearings. Id. The Court reasoned that "if a statute 'states the time for performance of an official duty, without any language denying performance after a specified time, it is directory.'" Id. at 81, 952 P.2d at 319. Thus, because the statute in question prescribed a time limit for conducting the required suspension hearing, but without describing the consequences for untimely compliance, the statute was given a directory construction in the interest of better-serving the purpose of the law. Id.