Phoenix Driving on a Suspended License Defense Attorney

Driving on a suspended license in Arizona is a class one misdemeanor for which could mean jail time which is possible in a conviction. If you are facing these charges, call the Phoenix driving on a suspended license defense attorneys at AZ Defenders right away. We can provide an aggressive defense to the charges, and protect your freedom, ability to drive and your life.

Why Choose Our Phoenix Driving on a Suspended License Defense Lawyers?

  • Our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers have more than two decades of combined experience representing clients in criminal defense matters, including those involving suspended driver’s license.
  • We provide aggressive defense against criminal charges to help prevent outcomes that could affect your civil rights and negatively impact your life.
  • We are respected in the legal community and skillful in conducting preliminary negotiations with prosecutors.

Arizona’s Driver’s License Suspension Process

A suspended license means your privilege to drive or operate a motor vehicle has been temporarily removed. A revoked license is the permanent removal of the privilege to drive. Driver’s license suspension could either be used as an administrative penalty for a traffic infraction or part of a criminal sentence for a conviction. 

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) may suspend a driver’s license for committing certain offenses and moving violations, including driving without insurance or accumulating too many points on the driver’s record (12 or more in a 12-month period). The courts in Arizona can also order license suspension as part of a criminal case, such as for driving under the influence, reckless or aggressive driving, or committing a felony in a vehicle.

If your driver’s license gets suspended in Phoenix, the MVD must notify you shortly after your infraction with a written notice in the mail. The notice will give a certain amount of time during which you cannot operate your motor vehicle. In some cases, license suspension can last indefinitely until you fulfill the requirements for license reinstatement. If you violate this notice by driving on a suspended license, you can face penalties and potential criminal consequences.

Arizona Laws against Driving on a Suspended License

As stated in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-3473, operating a motor vehicle on a public highway in Arizona is prohibited for a person whose driving privileges have been suspended, revoked, canceled or refused, or if the person is disqualified from driving. Violation of this statute is a class one misdemeanor.

Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License in Arizona

Possible penalties upon conviction include probation, up to six months of jail time, and impoundment of your vehicle for up to 30 days. Prosecutors will usually seek jail time for a second or subsequent offense. It is common in Phoenix for prosecutors to seek:

  • Five days of jail time for a second offense
  • 30 days of jail time for a third offense
  • 90 days of jail time for a fourth offense
  • Six months in jail for a fifth or subsequent offense

The penalties faced will depend on the situation, such as your criminal history and driving record. Repeat offenders face more serious penalties in Arizona. If you cause a car accident while driving on a suspended license, this can also enhance your penalties.

Getting Your Driver’s License Reinstated After Suspension or Revocation

After receiving notice that your driver’s license has been suspended, you have the right to request a timely hearing to challenge the suspension. You may have to go through a waiting period before you can qualify for a reinstatement hearing. This period can last between 30 days and six months. An attorney can represent you during the hearing to fight the suspension.

If your license does get suspended or revoked, it will remain this way for a specific period of time. For the most part, the MVD cannot suspend or revoke a license for longer than one year, except in certain DUI cases and convictions involving fatal motor vehicle accidents. At the end of the mandatory suspension period, you will need to take certain steps to reinstate your license before operating a motor vehicle.

You may need to show proof of insurance and pay a reinstatement fee, for instance, or apply for a new license if yours was revoked. If your driver’s license gets suspended as part of a criminal conviction, you will be unable to reinstate your license until you have fulfilled the requirements of both the MVD and the Arizona criminal courts. You may need to pay a fine, for example, or complete a sentence involving jail or probation.

Defenses against Charges of Driving on a Suspended License

There are a number of defenses that may be asserted in any criminal case, including Miranda rights violations and other challenges to your constitutional rights. In Arizona, whether an inculpatory (tending to admit guilt) statement can be admitted into evidence depends on whether the statement was voluntary or coerced. If you were in custody and asked to speak to your attorney, but the request was denied and questioning continued, we can raise the defense that you were denied your constitutional right to counsel.

Defendant Was Not Aware of the Suspension

The key defense to a charge of driving on a suspended, revoked, or canceled license is showing that you did not knowingly do so. The prosecutor has the burden of proving that you were notified that your license had been suspended. Under existing case law, however, the state can show that you should have known about the suspension. For example, if you moved to a different location and failed to change your address with the Motor Vehicle Department in a timely manner, it may be determined that you were to blame for not receiving notification of the suspension. The MVD should have sent a notification through the mail to the most recent physical address you provided to the MVD or the address you gave to a law enforcement agency.

Notice Was Not Clear about Reinstatement Fees

Suspension notices often state that a driver’s privileges are suspended for 30 or 60 days. To determine his or her rights, the recipient is instructed to read the fine print on the back of the notice. It is not always clear that the license will remain suspended until the driver pays a reinstatement fee. Many people who receive these notices believe that their driving privileges will be automatically reinstated once the suspension time stated on the front of the notice has elapsed.

You Were Not Driving on a Public Road

It is not against the law in Arizona to operate a motor vehicle on a private road on a suspended driver’s license, except in a DUI case, as DUI is unlawful on any property. If your traffic stop occurred on private property, this may serve as a defense against the charges against you. Your lawyer can prove that you were not driving on a public road or highway on a suspended driver’s license at the time.

Police Misconduct or Constitutional Violation

Your attorney may be able to petition for certain evidence to be ruled inadmissible due to violations of your constitutional rights. If there was no probable cause for the police officer to conduct the traffic stop, for example, any evidence gathered against you may not be allowed in court. This can result in insufficient evidence and dismissed charges. Proof of police misconduct can also support this defense, such as the use of excessive force or false arrest.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

If you have been arrested for or charged with driving on a suspended license, contact AZ Defenders to speak with our Phoenix driving on a suspended license defense attorneys as soon as possible. We can provide the knowledgeable legal representation you need.

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