You may receive a traffic ticket for violating laws, such as failure to obey a stoplight or driving over the speed limit. You can pay for your ticket fines through the mail or online, which counts as pleading guilty for the violation. If you wish to dismiss your ticket, you can choose to work with a lawyer. They’ll fight to have your charges dismissed, work on negotiating a reduced penalty with the court, and appear in court on your behalf.
Representing yourself in court can be risky. Making a simple mistake may end up costing you if the court finds you guilty. Hiring a lawyer will improve your odds of reducing your charges or having them dismissed altogether.
Traffic Tickets in Arizona
- Traffic violations are split into two categories: civil and criminal
- Paying your traffic ticket fines means you’re pleading guilty to the charges
- Traffic violations come with serious consequences, like points on your record, fines, and higher insurance rates
- Working with an attorney will increase your chances of having your ticket dismissed or your penalties lessened
Penalties for Traffic Tickets in Arizona
Traffic tickets in Arizona can be either civil or criminal. Civil violations include running a red light, turning illegally, driving too fast or too slowly, or failing to obey traffic signs. Each civil traffic violation carries a number of points that will determine your penalties, including fines. Fees for civil violations vary from court to court, but a first offense typically won’t carry very severe financial consequences.
Criminal traffic violations are more serious and can include vehicular homicide, aggressive driving, reckless driving, and DUIs. The penalties and fines for a criminal violation tend to be much higher than civil violations, and the consequences increase if it isn’t your first offense. For example, a first-time DUI conviction could lead to a $1,250 fine, while a second offense could come with a $3,000 penalty.
The Defensive Driving Program
If you want to have your ticket dismissed, reduce the points on your record, and avoid paying fines for your traffic violation, you can look into the Defensive Driving Program. This program is a driving course that you may take in a classroom or online. Keep in mind that if a judge orders you to take it in person, you must sign up for a classroom program.
The course teaches safe protocols for driving, helps you to avoid increasing car insurance rates, and may reduce the points added to your record. Note that you cannot remove points on your driving record by taking the Defensive Driving Program, but you can potentially reduce the amount accrued. If you wish to have your ticket dismissed, you must only have one violation up for dismissal.
If your accident resulted in a fatality or serious injury, or you have a commercial driver’s license, you can’t get a dismissal through taking the course. You must wait at least 12 months after the date of your last traffic citation and complete the course at least a week before your scheduled court date.
FAQ on Traffic Violations in Arizona
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding driving-related crimes in Arizona:
Q: What does fighting a traffic ticket in court entail?
If you want to fight your traffic ticket in court, the hearing will be similar to typical trials. You and your attorney will have a chance to plead your case, argue the law, call witnesses, present evidence to support your case, and question police department representatives.
Q: What does it take to get my license suspended?
You may have your license suspended for a traffic violation in Arizona, depending on how serious the crime was. If you’ve received a traffic ticket before and have accumulated 8 points within a year, you may lose your license immediately. Some crimes, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence, are 8-point violations and result in an immediate license suspension. The court will determine how long you’ll lose your license for.
Q: What counts as “excessive speeding” in Arizona?
Excessive speeding is a misdemeanor crime that comes with 3 points on your driving record in addition to fines. You may receive an excessive speeding charge if you drive faster than 35 miles per hour near a school crossing or exceed 85 miles per hour anywhere else. You might also be convicted of excessive speeding if you drive faster than the speed limit in a residential or business district.
A misdemeanor conviction can harm your education or career opportunities in the future, so it’s best to speak with an attorney if you’ve received this type of charge.
Q: What counts as “aggressive driving” in Arizona?
You may receive an aggressive driving charge if you immediately endanger another vehicle or person with a series of acts during one period of driving. To receive this charge, you must also driver faster than the posted speed limit and commit two of these traffic violations:
- Unsafe lane change
- Passing another car on the right
- Following another car too closely
- Not yielding to an emergency vehicle
- Failure to follow traffic signals or signs
Q: Will my insurance go up if I’m found guilty of a traffic violation?
In Arizona (and in many other states), car insurance rates are decided by your driving record and how well you drive. Once you accumulate points on your record, your premium is likely to rise by a significant amount. Not only will you face fines for the original violation, but you may also suffer financial consequences over the long-term.
What to Do if You’re Facing Charges
Traffic tickets can come with serious consequences, including fines, points on your record, and more. If you decide to fight a traffic violation, you’ll be pleading “not guilty” in court and should seek assistance from a lawyer. They can appear in court on your behalf, help you gather evidence to support your case, and answer any questions you have. Speak with a lawyer today to protect your driving history, insurance rates, and record.