My Arizona Driver’s License Was Suspended: What Do I Do Now?
For most of us, having access to a car is our livelihood. We need a car to get back and forth to work, we need a car to make sure the kids get to school, and we need a car to get groceries. That is why having your license suspended or revoked can have a devastating impact on your ability to make a living and go about your day-to-day life. If your Arizona driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, there are ways to get it reinstated. And we can help.
25 Years of Experience Successfully Helping Arizona Residents get their Driver License Reinstated.
In this article, we are going to discuss (i) some of the reasons why a driver’s license could be suspended or revoked in Arizona, (ii) why you should never drive when your license is suspended or revoked, and (iii) what you can do to get your license back.
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about getting your driver’s license back in Arizona, we welcome you to call The Law Office of Karl A. Mueller, PLC. Schedule a free consultation by completing our online contact form, or by calling us at (602) 697-8761. We are here to protect your driving record. Call us today.
The Reasons for Having Driving Privileges Taken Away
In Arizona, as with all states, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for certain driving violations or for other criminal offenses. As you might expect, a suspension of your license is a lesser form of punishment, and it usually applies to lesser traffic violations, compared to having your license revoked. Yet, both a suspension and a revocation serve to keep you from driving a car for a certain period of time.
Reasons for Suspension of Your License
When it comes to suspension of your Arizona driver’s license, the common reasons usually include:
- Driving under the influence. If you were caught driving under the influence of alcohol or another type of drug (DUI), if you were pulled over and refused to take a breathalyzer, or if you failed a breathalyzer or other DUI test, then a suspension of your driver’s license is a typical result.
- Serious traffic-related offenses. Failing to appear in court for speeding tickets or other traffic violations, causing a serious car accident that injures or kills another person, and reckless driving could all be reasons to have your license suspended for a period of time. In some cases, a license suspension is mandatory.
- Too many points on your license. Arizona is like many states in that it uses a point system to keep track of a person’s driving record. If you accumulate eight or more points in a 12-month period, then a license suspension is mandatory (unless you attend driving school).
Reasons for Revocation of Your License
Depending upon the circumstances, a judge or the Motor Vehicle Division has the discretion to revoke your driver’s license. However, there are some circumstances in which revocation of your driver’s license is mandatory, including:
- Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony;
- Stealing a motor vehicle;
- Failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving serious injury;
- Making false statements to the Motor Vehicle Division; and
- Two or more convictions for DUI, or reckless driving.
Never Drive When Your License is Suspended or Revoked
The worst thing you can do when your license has been suspended or revoked is to compound your problems by getting caught driving. Why? Because driving after you have already had your driving privileges taken away only serves to add on to the time that you cannot drive. Moreover, it is a crime that could land you in jail.
Specifically, Arizona law makes driving without a license a Class 1 misdemeanor. That means that driving on a suspended license could result in up to six months in jail, followed by three years on probation, and about $4,500 in fines. Jail time is unlikely if you are a first-time offender. However, the worse your driving record, the harsher the punishment.
In short, once your driving privileges have been removed for a period of time, the worst thing you can do is to get caught driving. Not only will the suspension or revocation period be extended, but you will be charged with a criminal misdemeanor and possibly face incarceration.
How Can You Get Your License Back?
The silver lining with regard to license suspensions and revocations is that once the suspension or revocation period is over, you can get your license back. The process after a suspension is a little easier than the process after revocation. But, ultimately, getting your driving privileges back in either scenario is possible.
Typically, in Arizona, the Motor Vehicle Division cannot suspend or revoke your driver’s license for more than a year. There are, however, some circumstances in which you can lose your driving privileges for more than year such as with multiple DUIs or convictions related to fatal car accidents.
Getting Your License Back After Suspension
Arizona law views a suspension as a temporary removal of your driving privileges. As such, you can ask to reinstate your license once the suspension period has expired. To do so, you need to:
- Make sure that you have paid all your court penalties,
- Obtain a court clearance receipt or court abstract form showing the final disposition of your offense, and then
- Bring that receipt or abstract to any motor vehicle division office, pay the $10 reinstatement fee and an application fee.
The process can be done by mail or online, unless you need a new digital photo in which case you need to go in person.
Getting a License After Revocation
In contrast to suspension, Arizona views revocation as a termination of your privilege to drive. That means that once the revocation period has ended, you will need to get a new license. That process is a little more involved than simply getting a reinstatement, as follows:
- You first need to complete an investigation packet. The Motor Vehicle Division will review the packet, conduct an investigation, and then send you a Permission to Reapply notice if it determines that you are eligible for a new license.
- For alcohol- and drug-related revocations, you will need to show proof of future financial responsibility.
- Then, you can go to the Motor Vehicle Division with your notice (and, when applicable, your proof of financial responsibility), and pay the $20 reinstatement fee and an application fee.
- If you are required to have an ignition interlock device (which allows those with alcohol-related offenses to drive on a restricted basis), then you also need to show the Motor Vehicle Division that the device is properly installed and functioning.
Losing your driving privileges can have a huge impact on your life. If you are in danger of losing your license or if you have lost your license and are trying to get it back, it can only help to have an experienced attorney in your corner. We welcome you to contact us at The Law Office of Karl A. Mueller, PLC. Complete our online contact form, or call us at (602) 697-8761. We can defend your future by defending against traffic violations, DUIs, and other criminal charges. Contact us today for a free consultation.