Driving on a Suspended License in Arizona

As in all states, Arizona drivers may find their licenses suspended or revoked for particular driving violations or other criminal offenses. When privileges are suspended, drivers may reinstate their licenses after the suspension period has expired; and when a license is revoked, drivers may apply for a new license after their revocation period has expired. Driving while a license is suspended or revoked is a crime.

Reasons for Suspension

The Arizona Division of Motor Vehicles may suspend your driver’s license for a number of reasons, including alcohol-related offenses, points accumulated due to driving violations, or other offenses.

Alcohol-related offenses

Your license may be suspended or revoked due to alcohol-related driving offenses, including a DUI conviction, failing a test for blood alcohol content, or refusing to submit to a test to determine whether you are driving under the influence. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-1321.)

Accumulating points

It may also be suspended if you accumulate eight or more points on your driver’s license within a year. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3306 (A)(3), Ariz. Admin. Code § R17-4-404.) Points accumulate through specified driving-related violations, including driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs (“DUI” or “DWI”), speeding, or leaving the scene of an accident. (Ariz. Admin. Code § R17-4-404.)

Other offenses

Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for other reasons, including

  • failing to appear in court for traffic violations or speeding tickets
  • causing an accident that seriously injures or kills someone, and
  • reckless driving (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § § 28-3308, 28-3306.)

Reasons for Revocation

In addition to discretionary suspensions and revocations, the Motor Vehicle Division must revoke your license for certain convictions. Convictions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • driving under the influence of a drug
  • homicide or aggravated assault when a motor vehicle is used
  • a felony, if you used a motor vehicle to commit it
  • certain thefts of motor vehicles
  • drive-by shooting
  • failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury
  • perjury or making a false statement under oath to the Division of Motor Vehicles, and
  • two or more convictions for DUI, reckless driving, or racing on highways. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3304.)

Avoiding suspension

As explained above, the Division of Motor Vehicles may suspend your license if you accumulate eight points on your license for traffic violations or for other reasons. In some circumstances you may avoid suspension by attending Traffic Survival School, an educational program designed to improve drivers’ habits and safety. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § § 28-3306, 28-3307.)

Mechanics of Suspension or Revocation

Once suspended or revoked, your license will remain that way for a specified period of time. Generally, the Division may not suspend or revoke your license for longer than a year. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3315(A).) Specified convictions, however, such as certain convictions related to fatal accidents and certain DUIs, may be suspended for a period of years. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3315(E).)

In some situations, such as an administrative suspension of your license after a DUI arrest, you may request a hearing to challenge your license suspension or revocation. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-1385.)

Ignition Interlock Restricted Licenses

Arizona drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked for certain DUI or alcohol-related traffic offenses may apply for restricted licenses. These allow them to use their vehicle with an ignition interlock device. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-1401.) Interlock ignition devices require drivers to exhale into a device before using their vehicle to ensure they are not under the influence of alcohol. The vehicle will not operate without the device.

How to Reinstate Your License

If your license is revoked, you may apply for a new license after your revocation period expires or after the cause of your revocation ends. The division will investigate your driving record and make sure that all requirements are met before it issues you a new license. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3315(B).) The reinstatement fee for a revoked license is $20, in addition to any other fees. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3002.)

If your license is suspended, it will remain suspended until you have it reinstated. You must pay a $10 reinstatement fee in addition to any other fees. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3002.) In some situations, such as those involving a DUI, the reinstatement fee after suspension or revocation is $50. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3002.)

Under certain conditions, you may need to provide proof that your vehicle is insured before you can be licensed again. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-4073.)

Penalties

Driving while your license is revoked or suspended is a crime. As a Class 1 misdemeanor, it is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § § 28-3473, 13-802, 13-707.) If you are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, police may impound your vehicle. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-3511(A).)

Seeking Legal Help for a Charge of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

If you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation, the effects on your life can be serious. In addition to fines, jail time and other penalties, your ability to go to work or school and to obtain insurance can all be affected. While the law specifies punishments for the crime, your actual sentence will depend on the attitude of those in your court system toward the offense  If you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation, a lawyer familiar with these cases in your area will be able to give you advice on how to proceed.

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