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Phoenix Driving on a Suspended License Lawyer

Have you been arrested for driving on a suspended license in Arizona? Contact the Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Orent Law Offices for immediate legal assistance. A misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences – today and years down the line. A strong defense is the best way to protect yourself. Give us a call and schedule a free consultation to learn more.

License Suspension

Now, a license suspension is only temporary. This means that you are allowed to reinstate your license after your suspension period, provided that you resolve all outstanding issues and apply for reinstatement.

The following is a list of reasons why your license may have been suspended:

  • Failure to pay civil penalties, such as traffic tickets
  • Failure to appear in court for a criminal traffic violation charge, such as reckless driving
  • Failure to stop at an accident, or immediately return, when you were a driver in the accident
  • Multiple charges of overtaking or passing a stopped school bus when flashing lights are in use
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Refusing a drug or alcohol test
  • Violation of insurance laws, or
  • Accumulating 8 or more points for traffic violations within any 12-month period.

Once your license is suspended, you automatically lose the privilege of driving for a period of time.

License Revocation

By contrast, a license revocation terminates your privilege to drive. This means that you are not legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle until the state issues you a new license.

The following is a list of reasons why your license may have been revoked:

  • Reckless driving
  • Failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury where you were a driver
  • DUI (could be a revocation or a suspension, depending on the circumstances)
  • Theft of motor vehicles
  • Committing a felony using your motor vehicle
  • Drive-by shooting, or
  • Perjury / false statement under oath to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (“MVD”).

It doesn’t matter if your license has been suspended or revoked. If you drive a motor vehicle under either condition, that decision can have harsh consequences.

Penalty for Driving on a Suspended License

The penalties for driving with a suspended license depend on why your license was suspended in the first place. If the suspension was due to you failing to pay a fine or appear in court, the violation is considered a civil traffic offense and is treated similar to a speeding ticket.

For all other suspensions and revocations, Arizona statute ARS 28-3473 applies. This law states that driving on a suspended or otherwise invalid license is a class 1 misdemeanor.

These misdemeanors have no minimum penalty, but you could face:

  • Jail time of up to 6 months, and
  • A fine of up to $2,500.

Further, the city may impound your vehicle for 30 days.

Note that you must pay for all towing charges on your vehicle and you may be fined up to $15 per day for storage fees. You are also required to pay an additional $150 administrative fee to get your car back once impounded. But, if you are able to get your license reinstated within 30 days, you can have the vehicle released at that time. However, remember that you are still on the hook for all towing, storage, and administrative fees.

How to Get Your Suspended License Reinstated

Keep in mind that it’s important to wait until your license is reinstated before driving again. If your suspension was due to failure to appear in court or pay a fine, first contact the court and pay all outstanding fines. The court’s contact information will be on the suspension notification you received.

Once all fines have been paid, you may ask the court for what is called a court clearance receipt form. This is also known as a “Court Abstract” and you would then bring this document to the MVD and pay the fee.

There is a $10 reinstatement fee and application fee of $10 to $25, depending on your age. Note that if the MVD has a digital photo of you on file, you may complete the reinstatement process online.

If  your license was suspended because of a DUI, refusing a drug or alcohol test, or for violation of insurance laws, you must also provide proof of insurance in order to have your license reinstated.

How to Get Your Revoked License Reinstated

Reinstating a revoked license is a bit more complicated. First you must meet the eligibility requirements and complete an investigation packet.

The following is a list of the requirements for having your revoked license reinstated:

  • Your license must not be suspended or revoked in any other state
  • The revocation period must have ended (Note: if your license was revoked for leaving the scene of an accident causing death, this will be at least 5 years)
  • You must resolve all traffic violations against you and provide written satisfaction from the courts, which typically means completing traffic survival school and paying all fines, and
  • You must have no traffic violations within the last 12 months.

Bear in mind that an additional requirement applies if the revocation involved drugs or alcohol. In this case, an approved substance abuse evaluator must determine whether you are able to safely operate a motor vehicle. The evaluator must then fill out a form certifying that you are able to drive.  Approved substance abuse evaluators are either nationally certified or certified by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, or are a state-licensed doctor or psychologist.

Once you complete the investigation packet, the MVD will review the information and let you know if you are eligible to move forward. If you are eligible, they will send you a Permission to Reapply Notice. You may submit an application for reinstatement at this time. Note that you will be asked to pay a $20 reinstatement fee. If your revocation was related to drugs or a DUI, you must also provide proof of insurance.

You Might Have to Install an Ignition Interlock Device

As part of reinstatement after a license suspension or revocation, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. This is a breath-analyzing tool that is wired to your ignition. Your car will not start until you breathe into the device. If the device detects alcohol it will not start.

In most cases, you must get the device installed by an authorized company and provide proof of the installation to the MVD. If you have multiple DUIs on your record, the state may issue you a special license with the words “ignition interlock” on it. This is to alert law enforcement during a traffic stop that your car must be equipped with the device.

After the device is installed, it must be inspected every 90 days. Any signs of tampering or malfunction will be reported. Note that if you fail to comply with the requirements for the interlocking system, the time period that you must use it could be extended. Further, your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked.

You May Receive a Special Restricted Driver License After a DUI Suspension

Arizona has an option if your license has been suspended for a DUI and you are not eligible for full reinstatement. In this case, you may be able to obtain a special restricted driver’s license. This license also requires you to install the ignition interlock device, and you are limited in where you may drive.

Specifically, you may only operate a motor vehicle to drive to or from work or school or to transport a dependent to these locations.

Other places and individuals you may visit include:

  • A health professional’s office
  • A drug treatment facility
  • A probation officer, or
  • An ignition device certification facility.

If you believe you qualify for this option, you first need to contact the MVD to confirm your eligibility. You will need to address all pending driving actions against you, complete any required alcohol treatment programs, provide proof of insurance, pay all fees, get the device installed, and submit an application.

Defenses to Driving on a Suspended License

Now, by law, driving with a suspended license must be done “knowingly,” in order for you to be charged with a violation. This means that a potential defense would be that you did not know that your license was suspended or revoked when you drove. An example might be if you never received notification of the suspension in the mail. Another example would be if you thought your license would reinstate automatically and failed to go through the appropriate steps.

However, keep in mind that this defense is only available if you did not actually know about the suspension. In other words, willful ignorance of the process is not a defense. If the state can show that you were mailed the necessary information this would likely be enough to prove that you knowingly violated the law.

Contact Our Phoenix Driving on a Suspended License Attorneys For Help

Have you been charged with driving on a suspended license in Arizona? Has your license been suspended, revoked, or cancelled? Contact Orent Law Offices, PLC for immediate assistance. Our law office can help you with this matter or assist you with getting your license reinstated. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.