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Understanding ARS 28-3473: Driving on a Suspended License

Posted on December 21, 2022 in Arizona Revised Statutes,Vehicular Crimes

It is against the law in Arizona to operate a motor vehicle without a valid and current driver’s license. This means a license that is not suspended or revoked. Knowingly driving on a public roadway with a suspended driver’s license is illegal. The penalties for violating this rule can include further driver’s license suspension, fines, vehicle impoundment and even jail time. Speak to a criminal defense attorney in Scottsdale if you find yourself facing charges of driving on a suspended license. 

What Is a Suspended License?

All drivers operating vehicles on public roads in Arizona must have valid licenses. Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), Section 28-3473 makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway in Arizona if the driver’s privilege to drive is currently suspended, revoked, canceled or refused. It is also against the law to operate a motor vehicle if the person is disqualified from driving. 

A suspended license in Arizona is the temporary removal of an individual’s driving privileges. It is an administrative action that may be taken if a driver commits certain crimes or offenses, such as accruing too many points on the license, alcohol crimes, moving violations, or the failure to pay a ticket or appear in court. A driver’s license could also be suspended for infractions such as delinquent child support and other criminal convictions.

If your license gets suspended, you will receive a notice of this action in the mail sent to your last known address. This notice will contain instructions on how to reinstate your driver’s license and when you can do so. Unfortunately, many people fail to receive these notices. This can result in them driving on a suspended license and getting arrested for violating ARS 28-3473.

What Are the Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License in Arizona? 

Violating ARS 28-3473 is a class 1 misdemeanor. Currently, there are no mandatory fines or mandatory jail time for class 1 misdemeanors in Arizona. However, the potential punishments can still be severe. The consequences of committing this crime may include: 

  • An arrest on your permanent record
  • Vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days 
  • Up to six months in jail 
  • Up to three years of probation
  • Up to $2,500 in fines and surcharges 
  • Additional license suspension or revocation

Although jail time is rare for a first offense, it is a possibility for a repeat offender or someone with a prior criminal or driving record. In these cases, the prosecutor may seek more severe penalties.

How Can You Get Your Driving Privileges Reinstated?

If you receive a notice that your driver’s license has been suspended in Arizona, there may be ways to have your driving privileges reinstated on a restricted basis. Obtaining a restricted driver permit could allow you to drive to and from work, school and certain other specified locations. However, a minimum of 30 days of the license suspension must be served before restricted privileges can begin.  

Once your license suspension period has ended, you can get your license reinstated. If it was suspended due to a failure to pay a ticket or appear in court, you must pay all court penalties due and obtain a court clearance receipt. Then, bring this receipt to any motor vehicle department (MVD) and pay a $10 reinstatement fee and application fee. If your license was suspended for any other reason, you must pay these fees as well as obtain proof of future financial responsibility.

Common Defenses to Driving on a Suspended License 

If you have been arrested for driving on a suspended license in Arizona, contact the criminal defense attorneys at AZ Defenders right away. We can help you understand your rights and examine potential defense strategies that could be used to dismiss your charges or reduce the penalties you face. Defense strategies may include no criminal intent (lack of knowledge that you were driving on a suspended license), improper notification by the MVD, no evidence of driving and constitutional rights violations. Call (480) 456-6400 today for your free initial case evaluation.

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