If you received a traffic ticket in Arizona, this means that a police officer has accused you of violating a traffic law. It does not mean you are guilty. You can choose to fight the ticket, with or without an attorney's help.
Traffic violations may be civil or criminal. The consequences of a civil violation such as speeding include a fine and points on your driver's license. The consequences of a criminal violation such as reckless driving are far higher. You face possible jail time and the stigma of a criminal record. You may also face repercussions with your employment.
If you are charged with a criminal traffic violation, you should seek an attorney's help to protect yourself from serious consequences. For a civil violation, the cost of hiring a lawyer will be higher than the cost of the fine. However, you should consider the effect a conviction could have on your insurance rates.
There are several ways you can deal with a traffic ticket. Here is an overview of your options.
Paying The Ticket
You may have the option of paying the fine by phone, mail, online or in person. By paying the fine, you are pleading responsible or guilty of the violation.
The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division will assess points on your driving record. If you accumulate too many points over a three-year period, the MVD may suspend or revoke your driving privileges. Your insurance company may also increase your insurance rates.
Attending Defensive Driving School
You may be able to resolve the ticket by attending driving school. This option is normally available for civil violations if you have not attended driving school in the last two years. This option is not available if you have a commercial driving license.
If you are eligible and successfully completed an approved driving course, the court will dismiss the traffic violation. This means:
- You will not have a conviction or finding of responsibility.
- No points will be accessed to your driving record.
- You will pay no fines.
- Your insurance rates will not be affected.
Pleading Not Responsible And Requesting A Hearing
Pleading not responsible means that you deny committing the violation. A judge or hearing officer will decide whether or not you are responsible based on a preponderance of evidence presented at a hearing. The judge will also decide what your fine will be if you are responsible. It may be lower or higher than the amount listed for the violation.
You can have an attorney appear for you at this hearing or represent yourself. If you want to have an attorney represent you, you must notify the court in writing at least 10 days before the hearing.
If you disagree with the decision of the judge or hearing officer, you can file a notice of appeal within 14 days. You will not be permitted to introduce new evidence at the appeal. You will be responsible for the cost of the appeal.
What Happens If I Ignore A Ticket?
If you fail to appear at your hearing or pay your fine, the court will notify the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. The state will then suspend your driving privileges. You will be required to pay the fine and additional fees to the Motor Vehicle Division to have your driving privileges reinstated. The court may also refer your case to a collection agency.
If you drive while your license is suspended, you will be subject to criminal penalties and additional sanctions.
For More Information About Your Options
For more information about your options, you can call 602-730-7857 or fill out our contact form for a free initial consultation.