In Arizona, Driving on a Suspended License is a crime. The crime of Driving on a Suspended License is a class 1 misdemeanor. (see Misdemeanors in Arizona in this blog) Driving While Suspended requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of the crime of Driving on a Suspended License are met anytime the State can prove you knowingly operated a motor vehicle while your license was suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
A driver's license suspension is the temporary removal of your privilege to drive. It is an action taken by Motor Vehicles Division (MVD) after a review of your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), also commonly called you driving record.
If your driver's license is suspended, the suspension will remain in effect until you make an application for reinstatement and pay the applicable fine. Many times the suspension notice for Motor Vehicles Division (MVD) will indicate that you will be suspended for a determined period of time. What tends to escape many people is that until you pay a "reinstatement fee", your license will be suspended indefinitely. Often people believe that they have served their suspension period and begin to drive again mistakenly believing that the suspension has been lifted.
Depending on the reason the prosecution is claiming your license was suspended, you may be charged with three different types of Driving on a Suspended License. The State must prove that Motor Vehicles Division (MVD) made notification that your license had been suspended. However, Arizona law only requires the State to show that you "should have known" that your license was suspended. In other words, a claim that you moved and no longer live at the address that Motor Vehicle has on record, may fail since Arizona law requires you to notify Motor Vehicle Division of a change of address within ten (10) days.
Consequences of Driving on a Suspended License
Be careful, depending on the facts of your case and your driving history, being found guilty of Driving on a Suspended License can have many potential consequences including:
Being arrested on the spot
Impounding of your vehicle
Mandatory jail time
Conviction of a crime resulting in a criminal record
Extension and re-suspension or revocation of your license
Points being accessed to your driving record
Higher insurance, cancellation of insurance, or denial of insurance
Effects on immigration status, visas, and passports