Arizona Traffic Tickets — What They Mean for You
When you see those blue and red lights flashing behind you, that can mean only one thing – you’re in for an expensive traffic ticket, and your insurance rates are about to skyrocket. In Arizona, you’re slightly luckier than residents of others, because the state employs a driver improvement program in which you can possibly negate your citation points or dismiss your ticket altogether. However, you should first understand how Arizona traffic laws work, so as to avoid getting a ticket in the first place!
Types of Arizona Traffic Tickets
Traffic tickets in Arizona are divided into two categories: civil and criminal. Civil citations are your basic minor moving violations, each of which carries a designated amount of penalty points. Some common civil violations and their associated points are listed below:
- Speeding – 3 points
- Failure to stop for a sign or traffic signal, or yield the right of way – 4 points
- Driving over/parking in a gore area – 3 points
- Following too closely – 2 points
A criminal violation is also broken up into two categories – misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor violations include reckless driving and driving under the influence (DUI), whereas felonies are much more serious. You will be convicted of a felony if you attempt to evade the police or are in a DUI-related accident where someone is injured or killed. Hopefully you will never even need to think about the penalties for a felony (which include thousands of dollars in fines and months or years in jail). However, a misdemeanor for some irresponsible drivers is not out of the question.
Here’s what you stand to face if you are convicted for any of the following misdemeanors:
- DUI – 8 points, immediate license suspension, jail time of no less than 10 days, community service, and a fine of at least $1,250
- Extreme DUI – 8 points, immediate license revocation, jail time of no less than 90 days, community service, and a fine of at least $3,000
- Reckless driving – 8 points and possible license suspension
- Aggressive driving – 8 points and a 30-day license suspension
- Hit-and-run – 6 points and immediate license revocation
- Any moving violation resulting in death – 6 points, license revocation for 3 years, and possible jail time
If you continue to flout the law, the state of Arizona will suspend your drivers license for a designated amount of time. Drivers who rack up 8 points in any 12-month period will have their licenses suspended for up to 1 year. And as stated above, many criminal violations will result in immediate suspension of your license, along with other fines and penalties.
Removing Points from Your Record
If you are convicted of a traffic violation, your judge may give you the option of completing an Arizona defensive driving school course. These courses, approved by the Arizona Supreme Court, will prevent the citation points from being assessed to your driving record, and your insurance rates will not rise as a result of additional points. Even if this option isn’t immediately presented to you at court, you should still be aware of its existence so that you can ask for it as part of a plea bargain.
When you take a defensive driving course, you’ll refresh your skills and be able to correct the behaviors that landed you in court in the first place. In order to qualify for a course, you may not have previously attended one within the last 2 years, and your citation must be among those eligible (most minor moving violations will qualify). It’s important to note, though, that you may not take a course for more than 1 traffic violation at a time. So if you were convicted of multiple infractions when you were pulled over, you can only prevent points for one of them.
If you have any questions, contact us here – we’re available every day of the week!