As in all states, Arizona drivers may face license suspension or revocation for particular driving violations or other criminal offenses. Following a suspension period, the driver can reinstate his or her license. When a driver's license is revoked, on the other hand, he or she must apply for a new license once the revocation period expires.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a criminal offense in Arizona.
The Arizona Division of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver's license for a number of reasons, including alcohol-related offenses, a more serious driving-related violation, and points accumulated due to multiple traffic violations.
Arizona drivers might face suspension or revocation for certain alcohol-related driving offenses. The list includes driving under the influence (DUI), unlawful refusal to take a DUI chemical test (usually, of the blood or breath), and failing a DUI chemical test.
Some of the more serious traffic-related violations that can lead to suspension include:
Depending on the offense and circumstances, a suspension might be mandatory (see below) or just a possibility.
Arizona uses a traffic violation point system and imposes suspension as a consequence for accumulating too many points (eight or more) within a 12-month period. Most minor traffic violations, such as speeding and running a stop sign, result in two points. But more serious violations, like street racing, can carry up to eight points, enough to result in suspension for a single conviction.
In addition to discretionary suspensions and revocations, the Motor Vehicle Division must revoke your license for certain convictions. Convictions that lead to mandatory revocation include:
The last item on the list (DUIs, reckless driving, and racing) can be any combination of two or more of the qualifying offenses.
As explained above, the Division of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license if you accumulate eight points. However, in some circumstances, you can avoid a point-related suspension by attending Traffic Survival School, an educational program designed to improve drivers' habits and safety.
Once suspended or revoked, your license will remain that way for a specified period of time. Generally, the Division can't suspend or revoke your license for longer than a year. Specified convictions, however, such as certain convictions related to fatal accidents and certain DUIs, can lead to the loss of driving privileges for multiple years.
In some situations, such as an administrative suspension of your license after a DUI arrest, you can request a hearing to challenge your license suspension or revocation.
Arizona drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked for certain DUI or alcohol-related traffic offenses can apply for a restricted license. These licenses allow driving with an ignition interlock device. 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.
If your license is revoked, you can 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. The reinstatement fee for a revoked license is normally $20.
If your license is suspended, it will remain suspended until you have it reinstated. Typically, you must pay a $10 reinstatement fee. In some situations, such as those involving a DUI, the reinstatement fee after suspension or revocation is $50.
Under certain conditions, you may need to provide proof that your vehicle is insured before you can be licensed again.
Driving while your license is revoked or suspended is a crime. As a Class 1 misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. If you are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, police can impound your vehicle.
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.