What Happens if You Drive While Your License Is Suspended?

How a Driver's License Can Be Suspended

There are a number of reasons why a driver's license could be suspended or revoked in the state of Arizona.

  • Some people have their driving privileges taken away as an administrative penalty following a DUI or refusing to take a chemical test.
  • Others have incurred too many points against their license for various moving violations.

If your license has been suspended, then you must cooperate with the terms of your suspension. Driving while your license is suspended or revoked could result in additional penalties.

Can I Request a Hardship or Restricted Driver's License?

Some individuals are allowed to drive while their license is suspended if they have successfully petitioned for a hardship or restricted license. This type of driver's license will allow a person to drive only to certain areas and during certain hours of the day.

While driving on a legitimate restricted driving permit is lawful, you must be careful to obey the terms of that permit or else risk the penalties of driving while your license is suspended.

Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in Arizona

If you drive while your license is suspended, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on all the circumstances involved. Your length of suspension will likely also be increased.

  • Driving under the influence while your license is suspended or revoked is a class 4 felony offense. This statute can be found in subsection D of ARS 28-1383. This is a type of aggravated DUI. In the state of Arizona, all aggravated DUI charges are felonies. DUI while on a suspended license is one possible way to be charged with an aggravated DUI.
  • Regular "driving on a suspended license" (without DUI) is typically charged as a class 1 misdemeanor. While the statute does not require jail time or fines, the judge could impose lengthy probation and even up to six months in jail if they see fit. It is most common for a prosecutor to seek jail time in cases where a person has prior offenses of this nature.

How to Contest Your Charges

There is the possibility of contesting such charges. In order to be charged with "driving while license is suspended," the prosecutor must prove that you knowingly and intentionally drove on a suspended or revoked license.

Because the state of Arizona takes these types of traffic violations so seriously, prosecutors at times are successful in proving a defendant guilty by showing that, even though they didn't know, they should have known that they were driving on a suspended license. In many cases, people legitimately are not aware that their license was suspended.

This could happen if a person moves and the MVD still has their old address on file. Also, a person could have recently completed the terms of their suspension but failed to pay a reinstatement fee to get their driving privileges fully restored. If you would like to speak with a lawyer at our firm to learn more about license suspension, call Knowles Law Firm today.

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