Driving on a Suspended License in Arizona – Is it a Criminal Offense?
Driving on a suspended license is a violation in every state but the penalties vary from place to place. Driving on a suspended license in Arizona is classified as a criminal offense. Depending on the severity of the violation, it can result in misdemeanor charges.
Arizona Regulations and Penalties
Arizona Revised Statutes 28-3473, 13-802, 13-707 and 28-3511 feature provisions that relate to driving on a suspended or a revoked license.
According to section 28-3473, driving on a suspended license in Arizona will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.
Obviously, a first-time offender will see a less severe sanction than someone who is committing the violation for a second or third time. Very often, first-time offenders will not have to serve a jail sentence.
Repeat offenders can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to 2,500 dollars for a Class 1 misdemeanor. Vehicle impoundment is another probable consequence of operating a car with either a suspended or a revoked license.
The only situation in which the charges may be legally dismissed is having a suspension that has resulted from unpaid civil penalties. Anyone who’s capable of providing evidence of reinstated driving privilege will have the charges against them dropped.
Best Possible Defense Scenarios
You need to partner up with an experienced criminal defense attorney who’s aware of Arizona regulations and the best possible defense scenarios. Under the circumstances, several lines of defense could be expected to deliver good results.
Demonstrating the lack of criminal intent is one of the most common approaches.
To be classified as a criminal offense, driving on a suspended license has to occur knowingly and intentionally. The prosecutor faces the task of proving that the driver knew their license had expired and they still got behind the wheel. The attorney will work on establishing the fact that the driver was unaware or uninformed of the suspension.
Improper notification by the MVD could also be used as a form of criminal defense. The prosecutor has to prove that all procedures were followed and a notification of the license suspension was sent by the MVD to the driver. Whenever proper notice hasn’t been given, the case could be dismissed altogether due to the lack of criminal intent on behalf of the driver.
To be charged, a driver has to be found operating the vehicle under suspended license laws. Thus, simply being behind the wheel isn’t evidence enough that the driver has operated the car.
A final line of defense that an attorney could employ is a violation of constitutional rights. In Arizona, there should be reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop to occur. A person who is guilty of driving on a suspended license also has a right to counsel. Involuntary statements and illegally-obtained testimonies can be classified as a violation of one’s constitutional rights, therefore leading to the dismissal of the case.
How to Deal with a Suspended License Charge
Obviously, the best thing to do is to refrain from operating a vehicle on a suspended license. If this happens, however, and you get stopped by Arizona police, you have the right to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Next, determine whether it’s possible to dismiss the charge. Sometimes, a license suspension will result from something as simple as the unpaid fine for a traffic violation. Once the payment is made, the reinstatement will occur quickly. In this case, the charges against you will be dismissed.
When you manage to get your license reinstatement, it becomes easier to settle things out of court with the prosecution. Don’t underestimate the importance of this possibility. Contact a lawyer immediately and give them details about the charge. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be to choose an adequate course of action.