Driving privileges can be suspended or revoked for many reasons, usually due to a previous driving-related offense. When a driver’s license has been suspended it can hamper your ability to manage your life, from work or school to everyday errands you need to complete. However, getting behind the wheel with a suspended Arizona license can make life even more difficult with the consequences that can occur if you are caught.
According to Arizona law, if you are caught driving with a suspended license you can be convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor. This is described under A.R.S. 28-3473 as any person that drives on a public highway when their driver’s license has been revoked, canceled, suspended, or refused. Common reasons for receiving a suspended license include DUIs, felonies involving the use of a vehicle, failure to stop and render aid, or lying to the MVD under oath.
Penalties of Driving with a Suspended License
Whether you knew your license was suspended or not, if you are pulled over and found to be driving with a suspended license you can face the penalties of a class 1 misdemeanor. This can include:
- Up to six months in jail
- Fines up to $2,500
- Impounding of a vehicle up to 30 days
While most first offenses will not receive jail time, it is possible depending on the circumstances and other violations that were issued at the time of arrest. On the other hand, subsequent violations of driving with a suspended license will almost always include some jail time and probation, with the maximum sentence being up to six months in jail.
What If I Didn’t Know My License Was Suspended?
One of the main defenses, when someone is caught driving on a suspended license, is that they were unaware their license had been revoked. Or, they thought their license had been reinstated after a temporary suspension of 30, 60 or 90 days. This is understandable, but to use this defense you must know how to plead your case to the judge. Ignorance does not necessarily work in your favor. You must be able to prove you thought you were acting legally when you decided to drive your vehicle. Some of the reasons you may have unknowingly driven with a suspended license include:
- In many cases, a license suspension could be notified by mail. If you did not receive the notification, this can explain why you were driving when your privileges have been suspended.
- If you did receive a notification of temporary suspension, you may not have read the fine print that explained you would need to reinstate your license after the period of suspension was over.
- You may have thought you were granted restricted driving privileges to drive to and from certain spots like work, school, counseling, or your probation officer’s office.
These are circumstances when a lawyer can be useful. Proving that you did not knowingly drive illegally can help your case. Our team at Matthew Lopez Law can research your case and determine what your best defense is and the best strategy for your case. It is crucial to be able to show why it is possible you did not know that your license was suspended to convince the judge to be lenient and dismiss the charges.
Defending a Suspended License Case
Often, those facing a charge of driving with a suspended license are facing other charges as well. They may have been pulled over for speeding or other traffic infractions when they were identified as driving with a suspended license. This can be overwhelming and seem impossible to obtain a good outcome, but there are ways to fight these types of cases.
Our team at Matthew Lopez Law will look at all angles to help you get the best outcome in your case. If you were unaware your license was suspended, we will diligently defend you and strive to prove that it was not your intention to break the law. If there are other traffic or criminal offenses, we will investigate the details of the case to find your best defense. This includes ensuring your Miranda rights were read, all legal steps were taken by the police officer, and that all the correct procedures were completed when the police report was filed. We look at every detail to develop the best arguments in order to help obtain a reduced or dismissed charge on your behalf.
Charged with Driving with a Suspended License in Arizona?
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license in Arizona, contact our team at Matthew Lopez Law. We will listen to your side of the story and consider all the options we could use to defend you in court. Contact us at our offices in Tempe, Apache Junction or Lake Havasu City to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.