What Is Considered Aggressive Driving?
In Arizona, the crime of aggressive driving is defined as a progression of unlawful driving that involves speeding and at least two of the following violations:
- Failure to obey a traffic control device
- Overtaking and passing another vehicle by driving off the pavement or main portion of the road
- Unsafe lane change
- Following a vehicle too closely/tailgating
- Failure to yield the right of way
The accused person’s driving must also be an immediate hazard to another person or vehicle.
Looking At Possible Defenses
Burden of proof: Because aggressive driving is a criminal charge, you are entitled to all the protections given to anyone charged with a crime. An officer who may be accustomed to coming into court on civil traffic violations and prevailing with a much lower burden of proof may find himself or herself unprepared to meet the burden of proof in a criminal case.
An experienced defense lawyer such as Karl A. Mueller may even be able to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charge after reviewing the citation and police report with the prosecutor. Just because an officer disapproves of your alleged road rage, does not make it “aggressive driving” under the law. Specific elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for the prosecutor to obtain an aggressive driving conviction.
Mr. Mueller has logged many hours arguing and defending criminal traffic cases. Deciding to put Mr. Mueller’s extended experience to work for you may mean the difference between being convicted and acquitted.
Challenging the police officer’s questioning: Police officers ask questions with the intent of using your answers to support their case against you. Your answers to those questions may be inadmissible if the police officers did not follow the existing laws that govern whether the answers to these questions were voluntary and proper under the law.
Method of calculating speed: Police officers use radar, laser, lidar, pace, vascar, visual estimates, aerial surveillance and photo enforcement to calculate speed. It is possible to attack the accuracy and credibility of these methods. Aggressive driving is a criminal charge and, therefore, the methods of calculating speed are subject to criminal discovery. All of this benefits you, assuming you have the right lawyer and representation.
Proving the identity of the driver: Because aggressive driving is a criminal charge, the driver’s identity must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must be able to prove that the officer measured the correct vehicle. It must also prove that the vehicle that was measured is the same vehicle that the officer eventually stopped and issued the citation to. Countless vehicles travel our roads in proximity to one another. An officer can lose sight of a car for a period of time before overtaking the vehicle and attempting a stop. What an officer may take for granted in a routine civil traffic violation may not be enough to sustain a criminal conviction.
Understanding The Consequences
Depending on the facts of your case and your driving history, being found guilty of aggressive driving can have many potential consequences, including:
- Jail time
- Points assessed to your driving record
- Potential suspension or revocation of your license
- Higher insurance, cancellation of insurance or denial of insurance
- Conviction of a crime resulting in a criminal record
- Effects on immigration status, visas and passports
- Community service
- Impounding of your vehicle
If you have been charged with aggressive driving, contact our Phoenix office online or call 602-730-7857 to schedule a free initial consultation.