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Criminal Traffic Violations vs. Civil Traffic Violations in Arizona

There are many differences in a civil traffic violaion vs. a criminal traffic violation. Civil violations are very different from criminal violations. You may find the below list is helpful in contrasting some of the differences between a criminal traffic vioaltion and a civil traffic violation in Arizona.

Criminal Traffic Violation

1. Handled in Criminal Court
2. Trial, possibly by a Jury
3. Rules of Evidence apply
4. Prosecutor is involved
5. You are subject to Cross-Examination by the Prosecutor
6. Standard of Proof = Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
7. The Rule of Exclusion applies
8. Discovery Rules apply
9. Jail is possible
10. You may be placed on Probation
11. Right to Counsel may apply
12. Mens Rea may be involved
13. Misdemeanor
14. Conviction will result in a Criminal Record
15. You may be arrested
16. May be found Guilty of a Crime
17. Failing to Appear = Warrant

Civil Traffic Violation

1. Handled in Traffic Court
2. Hearing only
3. Rules of Evidence do not apply
4. Generally there is no Prosecutor
5. You are not subject to Cross-Examination by the Officer
6. Standard of Proof = Preponderance of Evidence
7. The Rule of Exclusion does not apply
8. Discovery Rules do not apply
9. Jail is not a possibility
10. Probation is not a possibility
11. Right to Counsel does not apply
12. No Mens Rea required
13. Civil Infraction
14. May result in a Driving Record (MVD) only
14. You cannot be arrested
16. You may be found Responsible for a Civil Infraction
17. Failing to Appear = Default

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