The Consequences of Driving on a Suspended License

In Arizona, a driver could face a criminal and/or administrative suspension of his or her driver’s license for numerous reasons. Driving on a suspended license is against the law. If a driver gets caught operating a vehicle with a suspended, revoked or canceled license, he or she could be penalized. This can include jail time, in some circumstances.

Why Might a Driver’s License Get Suspended in Arizona?

The law in Arizona provides many opportunities for the criminal courts as well as the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) to suspend a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle. This is a penalty that may be imposed for various traffic infractions, civil violations and criminal offenses. Examples include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Racing on highways
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
  • Refusing to take a breathalyzer test
  • Failing to stop at the scene of an accident (hit-and-run)
  • Accumulating too many demerit points on the driver’s license 
  • Delinquent child support payments
  • Various criminal convictions

If a driver’s license gets suspended in Arizona, he or she legally cannot drive a motor vehicle. According to Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 28-3473, a person cannot operate a motor vehicle on a public road while his or her privilege to drive is suspended, revoked, canceled or refused. Driving on a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona under this statute and can come with serious penalties.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License in Arizona

In the criminal system, driving on a suspended license can carry penalties of up to 180 days in jail, three years of probation, and $4,574 in fines and surcharges. Jail time is uncommon in a driving on a suspended license case. 

However, if the driver has a record of other moving violations or this is not the driver’s first time driving without a license, a prosecutor in Arizona might seek a jail sentence. The amount of jail time sought will depend on the number of offenses in the driver’s history, with six months typically reserved for drivers on their fifth or subsequent violations.  

There is an exception to the rule for drivers whose licenses are suspended as a result of failure to appear in court or pay a fine. In these scenarios, the driver would face civil penalties rather than criminal ones. This means the MVD has the option of extending the suspension, revoking the driver’s license, imposing fines or taking other administrative actions, but the driver will not face criminal charges.

Driving on a Suspended License Can Lead to Aggravated Charges

The consequences of driving on a suspended license can also include aggravated charges for other offenses. Driving without a valid license is viewed as an aggravating factor in many types of criminal cases, including DUIs. This could mean elevated charges and enhanced penalties if the driver is convicted of the underlying crime.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If your driver’s license gets suspended in Arizona, a criminal defense lawyer can help. Your lawyer may be able to challenge the license suspension and request a hearing to stay (stop) the suspension to prevent it from going into effect. This must be done within 15 days of receiving notice that your license will be suspended. Your lawyer may be able to challenge the suspension on one or more grounds or file a request for a restricted license, which can allow you to drive to necessary locations.  

For more information about driver’s license suspensions in Arizona, contact Corso Law Group for a free case consultation.

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