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Driving with a Suspended License in Arizona

Driving with a Suspended License in Arizona



Driving with a Suspended License in Arizona

Driving is a privilege, and you can lose it if the authorities find that you were an irresponsible or negligent motorist. Getting your driving privileges taken away is bad enough, but you can compound that mistake by driving with a suspended license.

Simply put, operating a vehicle with a suspended driver’s license is a terrible idea. You’re needlessly putting yourself at risk. If you thought that was a nightmare, getting caught disregarding that fact will be an even bigger problem.

Learning more about what could happen if you ignore your situation will help drive home the importance of following the laws. Read on to learn more about a suspended driver’s license.

Also, check out the penalties that come with ignoring your suspended license and how you can reinstate your privileges. We’ll also touch on other relevant topics to ensure that you know what to do in the event of a suspended driver’s license.

What Is the Difference between Getting Your Driver’s License Suspended and Revoked?

To get things started, let’s address a topic that is of significant confusion for Arizona motorists. There are two ways for the state to take away your driving privileges. They can choose to either suspend your driver’s license or revoke it.

So, how do those two things differ from one another?

The biggest difference between them is related to their respective periods of effectiveness. If you have a suspended driver’s license, you’ll receive a clear idea of when you can reinstate your driving privileges. You cannot have them restored automatically after the suspension period, but you’ll still know when it ends.

Revocations are different.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, revocations can last for an indefinite period. They may inform you of the minimum amount of time that the period of revocation may last, but it can go well beyond that.

Drivers may also have a tougher time getting their driving privileges restored if they’re dealing with a revocation instead of a suspension.

The Reasons Why Your Driver’s License May Be Suspended

Now that we’ve sorted through the differences between suspension and revocation; let’s talk about the former. For this section, let’s focus on why the state may suspend your driver’s license in the first place.

Driving Under the Influence

Getting caught driving under the influence will lead to a suspended license. Remember that the legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent.

If you’re the driver of a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04 percent. Drivers under the age of twenty-one are not allowed to have any trace of alcohol in their system if they’re driving.

Refusing to Take a Sobriety Test

The authorities can also suspend your driver’s license if you refuse to take a sobriety test. Make a habit out of continually refusing those tests, and you could end up saddled with more troublesome penalties.

Lacking the Necessary Insurance

Drivers are required to maintain auto insurance on the vehicles they use. Failing to stay up-to-date on your car insurance will lead to you facing a variety of penalties. Among those penalties is the potential suspension of your driver’s license.

Reckless Driving

Drivers are to exercise caution and watch out for their fellow drivers when they’re on the road. If you fail to do that and drive recklessly instead, you’ll quickly find yourself in trouble.

Examples of reckless driving include going well over the speed limit, intimidating other drivers, and driving in the wrong lane. Driving habits such as swerving and tailgating may also be examples of reckless driving, so avoid them as much as possible.

Committing Multiple Moving Violations

The state of Arizona utilizes a points system to help determine when to suspend a person’s driver’s license. Those points are typically added to your record if you commit a moving violation of some kind.

Upon tallying eight total points within twelve months, you will become a candidate to have your driver’s license revoked. Usually, a person will receive a suspended license if they fail to attend Traffic Survival School after accumulating the point total.

Moving violations such as unlawful lane changes and running the red light account for two points. Compile enough of those points, and you could wind up with a suspended license.

Failing to Pay Fines, Tickets, and/or Legally Mandated Support

Don’t ignore those tickets and fines you must pay. Ignore them long enough, and you could end up paying a higher price in the form of a suspended driver’s license.

Tickets and fines are not the only payments you’ll need to make if you want to avoid getting your license suspended.

As per the terms of your divorce, the court may have ordered you to pay child support. Disregarding that order is not advisable. The court may find you in violation of your divorce agreement and suspend your driver’s license as a result.

Failing to Show Up for Court Dates

They can take away your driving privileges if you fail to meet your other legal obligations. If the court orders you to show up on a given date, remember to make that appointment. There’s a chance your driver’s license could be suspended if you fail to show up for your court date.

The Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License

What happens if you get caught operating a vehicle with a suspended driver’s license? The answer is that you’ll receive penalties. Let’s discuss those penalties in greater detail below.

Vehicle Impoundment

One penalty that applies to all drivers who operate their vehicles with a suspended license is vehicle impoundment. They can impound your vehicle for up to thirty days due to your violation.

So, can you pay the fees and retrieve your vehicle from the impound lot? It’s not that simple.

First, you’ll need to request a hearing with the police officer who impounded your vehicle. You must do that quickly as well. Many police stations across the state require drivers to request a hearing no more than ten days after impounding their vehicle.

During the hearing, you and your lawyer will have to make the case to the police officer that they should release your vehicle. Even if the police officer does agree to release it, you will still pay the corresponding fees.

Aside from how troublesome it is to not have your car; you’ll also have to deal with the inconvenient process of trying to get it back. It won’t be a pleasant ordeal for anyone to experience.


Probation is another form of punishment often handed down to motorists who ignore their suspended licenses. The probation periods handed down may vary depending on the situation.

Jail Time

Motorists who irresponsibly take to the road with a suspended driver’s license may also be sentenced to jail time. First time offenders may avoid jail time but repeat violators will not be as lucky.

The second time, they could sentence you to spend five days in jail. A third offense can lead to a jail sentence of thirty days. Get caught driving without a valid license for the fourth time, and you could face up to ninety days in jail.

If you continue to commit that same violation, you could receive a six-month jail sentence.

This is where having a good lawyer can help you out. Your lawyer may get you a shorter jail sentence after making your case in court.


Irresponsible drivers will also pay a fine due to their violation. Like with jail time, the amount you’ll pay will increase if you’re a repeat offender. Your lawyer could also help here by negotiating a smaller fine for you to pay.

How to Reinstate Your Suspended Driver’s License

There are two different processes for reinstating your suspended driver’s license in Arizona. Take note of which one applies to your case.

Reinstating Your Suspended Driver’s License after Failing to Pay a Traffic Ticket or Appear in Court

First, you have the process that applies to those who failed to pay their traffic tickets or show up in court.

The Steps:

  • To begin the reinstatement process, look at your suspension notice and try to find the court that issued it.
  • Once you identify the court, place a call to them.
  • Ask the court about any penalties you have incurred. Pay all those penalties.
  • After making the payments, you will receive either a court abstract form or a court clearance receipt.
  • Take whichever document was given to you to a Motor Vehicle Department license office.
  • Finish by paying the $10 reinstatement fee and the application fee corresponding to your age group.

Reinstating Your Suspended Driver’s License after Committing Other Violations

This other process applies to all the other cases wherein the driver’s license was suspended for a reason other than failing to pay a ticket or failing to show up in court.

The Steps:

  • Go to the Motor Vehicle Department license office.
  • Pay both the $10 reinstatement fee and the application fee corresponding to your age group.

Individuals who had their license suspended due to a DUI charge, refusing to take a sobriety test, or because they lacked insurance will have to fulfill an additional requirement. The requirement in question is securing proof of future financial responsibility.

The proof of future financial responsibility can come in the form of an insurance certificate or a certificate issued by the Arizona Treasurer’s office.

Additional Details on Payments

We noted above that you need to pay fees to get your suspended license reinstated. The reinstatement fee is $10, but the application fee can change.

For drivers age thirty-nine and under, the application fee is $25. Those in the forty-forty-four age group will need to pay $20. Drivers in the forty-five to forty-nine age group will pay an application fee of $15. If you’re fifty or older, your application fee is $10.

You can make the payment using cash, a cashier’s check, a credit card, or a money order. Personal checks will not be accepted, and cash payments cannot be sent via mail.

driving with a suspended license

What Are Restricted Driver Permits?

You may already understand that driving with a suspended license is a bad idea. Even so, you may find yourself without any other option but to risk getting caught because not driving could lead to you losing your job.

It’s a tough spot to be in, and that’s why restricted driver permits are made available. Restricted driver permits can act as temporary licenses for individuals who need to continue driving after a suspended license.

Restricted driver permits are different from driver’s licenses, however. For starters, your restricted permit does not allow you to drive anywhere you want.

Drivers using that permit can only go to their workplace, school, or back home. Restricted permits don’t really allow owners to head to the grocery or even to a friend’s house.

The state of Arizona is also strict when it comes to who are given restricted driver permits. Only those who had their license suspended due to an insurance issue or a DUI conviction are eligible to receive the permit. If your license was suspended for another reason, you’re out of luck.

Individuals found guilty of driving under the influence must meet additional requirements before being granted a restricted driver permit. Among those requirements are completing a treatment program, paying fees, and clearing a specific suspension period.

A suspended driver’s license can truly wreak havoc on your daily life. It can affect your job performance, drastically change your schedule, and force you to take on additional expenses. Getting caught driving can be the cause of even bigger problems.

Deal with your situation better with the help of a skilled and experienced lawyer. Allow us at the Schill Law Group to help with your current situation. Reach out to us today and learn more about the assistance we can provide.

Understanding the Arizona DUI Laws

Understanding the Arizona DUI Laws



Understanding the Arizona DUI Laws

Few things can be as dangerous on the road as a drunk driver. Arizona DUI laws are supposed to keep residents safe from them.

However, not everyone may fully understand those laws, and that can be a real problem. If people are not aware of what constitutes driving under the influence in Arizona, then they may wrongly assume that they are not breaking any laws when they get behind the wheel of their car.

Some drivers may also be unaware of what penalties wait for them if they are driving under the influence. In that case, further education is welcome because a lot of Arizona drivers will decide to sober up knowing how big of a risk they could be taking.

Find out more about the Arizona DUI laws and develop a better understanding of why drunk driving is an awful idea by reading on.

The Statistics Showing Why We Need to Sober Up

Even one death or injury caused by drunk driving is one too many. Sadly, this demonstration of grossly irresponsible behavior can lead to more than a terrible incident.

According to Responsibility.org, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 28.2 percent of total driving deaths in Arizona. Furthermore, 20 percent of under-21 driving-related fatalities in the state are young people who took to the road while they were still experiencing the effects of the alcoholic drinks they consumed.

What’s probably even more concerning is that instances of people driving under the influence in Arizona have increased in recent years.

The same site notes the 10-year change in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 members of the population. They note that for the timeframe going from 2009 to 2018, there was a 15.6 percent increase in those alcohol-influenced driving fatalities.

Even if you only account for the drivers under the age of 21, the increase is still notably increased. For that same period of time, there was a 3.1 percent increase in the number of under 21 alcohol-related driving fatalities per 100,000 members of the population.

Those trends are highly disturbing, and they must be slowed down as soon as possible. Teaching more motorists about what constitutes drunk driving could help in that regard.

DUI laws in AZ

What Qualifies as Driving Under the Influence in Arizona?

There are different levels of driving under the influence in Arizona. They come with different penalties so learning more about them is crucial.


First off, you have DUI cases. Notably, what constitutes a DUI charge can vary depending on why the driver was on the road.

The BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level for drivers of private vehicles cannot be above .08 percent. While you might assume that it takes a while before your blood alcohol concentration reaches that level, that is not necessarily the case.

Per the Arizona Department of Public Safety, even a single 8-ounce beer can cause your BAC level to surpass that threshold. That’s especially true if you are on the lighter side in terms of weight.

The threshold is even lower if you are the driver of a commercial vehicle, i.e., buses, taxis, or other similar modes of transportation. Instead of .08 percent, the BAC threshold for commercial drivers is 04 percent.

As you can imagine, it’s even easier to go past that limit as even a 5-ounce glass of wine could be enough to disqualify you from getting behind the wheel if you’re a commercial vehicle driver.

Individuals under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive if they have had any alcohol at all.

What Are the DUI Penalties in Arizona?

The severity of the penalties after being cited for DUI depends on whether the incident in question represents your first time with such an offense or if you’re a repeat offender.

For First-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service – You will be required to render a certain amount of community service.
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening – Offending drivers will be required to undergo alcohol screening following their arrest. The screening is also necessary if the offending individual wants to reinstate his/her driving privileges.
  • Traffic Survival School – You must attend Traffic Survival School if you want to reclaim your driving privileges.
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device – A certified ignition interlock device keeps your vehicle from starting if your BAC is above a certain level. You will have to blow into it if you want to drive. The device may also ask you to blow into it additional times after you start driving.
  • Loss of Driving Privileges – You will lose your driving privileges right away after being arrested for DUI. Your license could end up suspended anywhere from 90 days up to a year.
  • Jail Time – Behaving irresponsibly can land some drivers in jail. First-time offenders may spend 24 hours in jail or serve a sentence that goes up to 10 days.
  • Fines – A $250 base fine on first-time DUI offenders.

For Second-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privilege – Your driver’s license will be suspended for a year at least.
  • Jail Time – Second-time offenders may be sentenced to a 30-day stay in jail, but that can go up to 90 days.
  • Fines – The base fine climbs to $500 for second-time DUI offenders.

For Third-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privileges – You won’t be able to drive for a year.
  • Jail Time – Third-time DUI offenders can expect to spend a minimum of four months in jail.
  • Fines – Third-time DUI offenders will pay a $750 base fine.

Extreme DUI

Arizona DUI laws also account for cases of extreme DUI. These are the cases wherein the driver’s BAC level is above 0.15 percent.

Unsurprisingly, penalties are harsher for individuals found guilty of extreme DUI, as the Arizona Department of Transportation shows.

For First-Time Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privileges
  • Jail Time – Your jail sentence is not going to be anything shorter than 30 days. On top of that, you will not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence.
  • Fines – People driving with a BAC level over 0.15 percent will pay a fine no smaller than $2,500.

For Repeat Offenders:

  • Community Service
  • Mandatory Alcohol Screening
  • Traffic Survival School Attendance
  • Installation of Certified Ignition Interlock Device
  • Loss of Driving Privileges
  • Jail Time – An additional extreme DUI arrest can lead to you spending at least 120 days in jail.
  • Fines – Along with all the other penalties, repeat extreme DUI offenders must also pay a fine of at least $3,250.

What Is Aggravated DUI?

There is also a violation known as aggravated DUI in the state of Arizona. You can be charged with aggravated DUI if the following conditions apply:

  • You are guilty of a DUI offense while your driver’s license was still suspended, canceled, or revoked.
  • You had two prior DUI charges on your permanent driving record when you were cited for the same violation a third time within a span of 84 months.
  • You had a person under the age of 15 inside the vehicle while you were driving under the influence.
  • You committed a DUI offense while a certified ignition interlock device was in your vehicle.
  • You refuse to submit a blood alcohol content test while a certified ignition interlock device was in your vehicle.

dui penalties

The Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Charge

The penalties you’ll face if the state finds you guilty of aggravated DUI are pretty similar to the ones that accompany other DUI charges. You’ll need to render community service, submit to alcohol screening, attend Traffic Survival School, have a certified ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, and lose your driving privilege.

You’ll also be facing jail time. This time around, your jail sentence could last up to two years.

Can You Be Charged with DUI Even without Driving?

Arizona takes road safety seriously. In addition to their DUI guidelines and penalties, they have also enacted a law that hopes to curtail a DUI offense before it can even begin.

According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, it is illegal for anyone to be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle if they are under the intoxicating influence of alcohol.

So, what does that mean? Well, it means that you should remember to steer clear of the driver’s seat if you’ve been drinking.

They can find you guilty of this offense if a police officer sees you behind the wheel of the vehicle while it is running. The headlights of the vehicle being turned on could also spell trouble for you.

The location of the vehicle also matters. If it was in a parking lot while you were resting in the driver’s seat, then you’re probably in the clear. If the vehicle was stopped on the road or perhaps about to enter the road, you may have a hard time arguing your innocence.

This law pertaining to “actual physical control” of the vehicle is one of the trickier ones to argue against. Lawyer up if the state is charging you with this type of violation.

How the Government Is Working to Curb Drunk Driving

In addition to the harsh DUI laws and penalties, the government is also doing other things to help discourage drivers from getting into the driver’s seat while drunk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these measures include establishing sobriety checkpoints and having high-visibility saturation patrols roam the streets at times during which drunk driving is more prevalent.

To further discourage young drivers from taking to the road while drunk, the government is also investing in school-based instructional programs.

What You Can Do to Avoid Drunk Driving

Stopping the epidemic of drunk driving starts with ourselves. By being smarter and more responsible whenever we go out, our roads can become significantly safer.

Listed below are some tips for you to follow if you want to avoid drunk driving.

Bring Extra Cash if You’re Going Out

It’s easy to say that you won’t have an alcohol drink while you’re still at home. The reality, though, is that your mood might change as soon as you reach the restaurant or the bar. At that point, refusing the temptation of having an drink becomes significantly harder.

Training yourself to say no to an alcoholic drink is important, but you should be ready if you cannot resist that temptation.

Err on the side of caution by taking some extra cash with you. If possible, make sure the cash is a little over what you’ll need to pay for a ride home.

You may be hesitant to use your smartphone to pay for anything while you’re intoxicated, so go ahead and hail a taxi and pay with cash.

Make Sure Your Smartphone Is Charged

While we’re on the subject of smartphones, it’s also a good idea to bring yours along whenever you go out. Like we said above, we can never be certain what will happen once we’re outside.

Thanks to your smartphone, you can call up a family member or friend to pick you up if you’ve been drinking. There’s no need to even attempt to drive home while drunk.

Don’t Take Your Car with You if You’re Planning to Have Some Drinks

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid the temptation of driving while drunk is to leave your vehicle at home. With the prevalence of ride-sharing services these days, you don’t need to take your car with you every time you want to go blow off some steam.

Leave the car keys at home, book a ride, and enjoy your night out without endangering yourself or anyone else.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is never acceptable. It puts you and numerous other drivers and passengers in danger. On top of all that, you could quickly find yourself in a legal nightmare if you’re drunk driving.

If you’ve made that mistake, you need to face the charges properly. Allow us at the Schill Law Group to help you get a fair sentence from the court. Reach out to us today to learn about our services.

Fathers Rights in Arizona

Fathers Rights in Arizona

Defending the People of Arizona

With more than 100 Years of combined experience

Fathers Rights in Arizona

Parents have the right to have a relationship with their children. State laws end up enforcing these rights a lot of the time, including what is known as father’s rights. In the state of Arizona, fathers have certain rights in regards to parenting, just as the children have a fundamental right to have healthy relationships with their parents.

Arizona established state laws to help encourage a parent/child relationship, and the courts don’t step in unless absolutely necessary. In the majority of father’s rights cases, the child’s best interest is a cornerstone in any decision.

boy playing with airplane

A Father’s Effect on a Child’s Life

Traditionally, the mother holds the position of a child’s primary care provider. But fathers also play a critical role in the child’s development and healthy growth. Both in and out of the courtroom, fathers have proven they can be capable disciplinarians and competent caretakers.

These two roles are essential to any child’s upbringing. Fathers can help instill social and cognitive development, as well as confidence and a sense of security.

Arizona’s Laws for Establishing Paternity

It’s still common for a mother to raise a child by herself without a father figure present. There may come a time when the father has to step up in the child’s life to help with raising them. This is why the father or mother must establish the child’s paternity very early on, ideally, right after the mother has the child.

Establishing paternity simply means that a court judge or government entity has made a ruling on which male is the child’s father. One of the easiest ways to establish paternity in Arizona is for the family to fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Form

Both the mother and father should sign this form. Having both parties sign this form makes the paternity official in the government’s eyes, and it legally outlines who the child’s father is for all intents and purposes.

If the parents can’t agree on who the child’s father is, any of the following people can start a paternity matter under Arizona state law:

  • The mother of the child
  • A male believed to be the father (putative father)
  • The person whom the child is living with or their guardian (custodian)
  • Any government agency that provides the child with welfare benefits or health insurance

A superior court system can start a motion to establish the child’s paternity where the mother, child, and putative father reside. Any government agency that provides any form of care for the child can bring up a motion to establish paternity outside of the court system

When it comes to determining paternity, either a ruling from a government agency or a court is valid. Both the government agency and the court can order genetic or blood testing to help establish the child’s paternity. The paternity test is only valid if it shows there is a 95% chance the male in question is the child’s father.

Arizona’s Best Interest of the Child Standard

The Best Interests of the Child Standard in Arizona is the guiding force for Arizona judges who are trying to preside over parental right or child custody cases. There are determining factors the judges must consider when it comes to the child’s best interests, including:

  • Both parents’ mental health
  • Both parents’ physical health
  • Both parents’ preferences
  • Child’s ability to adjust to current or potentially new surroundings in the community, home, or school
  • Child’s mental health
  • Child’s preferences
  • Relationship between the child and any siblings
  • Relationship between the child and each parent
  • Relationships between the child and other significant individuals

The court will consider which parent will be more likely to allow for frequent and meaningful contact between the other parent and the child. They also look at which parent took on the role of the traditional caregiver. Any parent that used duress or coercion as a way to get primary custody will cause the judge to look unfavorably on them.

This is especially true when you compare it to how the judge will look on the other parent that cooperates for the child’s benefit. Ultimately, the judge wants to know that the child is in a living situation that serves their best interests. The end goal is not making things fair for the parents, but rather, it’s to ensure the well-being of the child.

Father’s Rights to Visitation and Custody in Arizona

Both of a child’s biological parents have the right to seek custody or visitation, and both parents have equal rights in this regard. This right also stands whether or not the parents were married or not married when they had a child. Arizona judges rely on the child’s best interests standard to help guide their decisions regarding custody.

This guidance also applies to any visitation rights, whether they put them in place for the mother or the father. The judge usually assumes that it’s beneficial for the child to have both parents play a role in their upbringing.

father playing with daughter

Father’s Rights to Child Support in Arizona

Circumstances pending, the judge could appoint either the father or the mother as the child’s primary guardian or custodial parent and the other parent as the non-custodial one. The custodial parent is the one who will be largely responsible for the child’s care and upbringing. The non-custodial parent usually pays child support and gets visitation rights.

Child support is a way for the non-custodial parent to help provide financially for the child’s care and upbringing. Child support is supposed to pay for anything the child should need like their housing, clothing, food, or other items.

It doesn’t matter if the father or mother gets the custodial parent role. The custodial parent has a right to seek child support to help them raise the child. A father whom the judge names as the custodial parent has as much right to petition for child support from the mother as the mother would if she was the custodial parent.

In Arizona, custodial parents can use the Child Support Enforcement Program to help get child support payments from the non-custodial parent.

Married Father’s Rights

In the state of Arizona, if a couple is or gets married before they have a child, there is a presumption of paternity. The state presumes you’re the child’s biological father. The state considers paternity to be already established when you’re married.

As a result, you have a legal right to see and interact with the child, and you also get to participate in major decisions regarding the child. These decisions could be education, medical treatment, or religious training.

Being married when you have a child also gives you responsibility in the event of a divorce. This is true for child support payments if you are the non-custodial parent.

Married Fathers Get Equal Rights

Arizona law recognizes and protects equal rights between the mother and the father in the event of a separation or divorce. If you worked full-time while your wife stayed home and took on the role of the primary caregiver for the child, the court wouldn’t hold that against you when it decides parenting time or legal decision-making rights.

In Arizona, courts don’t follow the Tender Years Doctrine anymore, which favored mothers when it came to deciding the primary placement and visitation schedules. Today, both the mother and father have equal rights in the eyes of the court, no matter the child’s age. The court isn’t allowed to favor one parent over the other parent.

The courts have to take all of the facts of the case into consideration before they make their ruling and final decision. The parents and the court system should all focus on the child’s best interests throughout the custody and visitation proceedings.

Unmarried Father’s Rights

Any father who isn’t married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth has no legal rights to the child until they establish paternity under Arizona law. You can establish paternity through an affidavit (agreement) between both the mother and the father. There is also the option to get a court order to try and establish paternity with a test, and from that, establish rights for the unmarried father.

Arizona law allows an unmarried mother to make more significant decisions with regards to the child’s education, medical treatment, and religious training without seeking the father’s approval or without his consent. This changes if the father decides to seek his parental rights.

Custodial Interference

For unmarried fathers in Arizona who don’t go through the process of establishing paternity, custodial interference is a very real possibility. For example, you take your daughter to the park to play like you have hundreds of times before. You help her on the slide and push her on the swing. Suddenly, a police car pulls up and asks you for your ID.

Once you show it, the officer arrests you and tells you that they’re charging you with custodial interference. The police take your daughter away and give her back to her mother. You and the mother argued this morning before you took your daughter to the park. As a result, she called the police on you after you left to get her daughter back.

Is this legal? If you’re unmarried, it might be. If you’re not married to your child’s mother and you don’t establish paternity, you have no rights to that child. Now, if you had established paternity, this wouldn’t be legal.

FAQs Regarding Father’s Rights

There are several frequently asked questions people have regarding father’s rights in Arizona. We picked out the most popular questions and answered them below.

Your significant other just had a baby. What are your rights if you’re not married?

You have no rights until you establish paternity. This doesn’t mean that you should be denied time with the child. If one or both parties dispute custody, a court will include a review of how both the mother and father treated one another with regards to access to the child.

If one parent decides to deny access without having a good reason, the court will review it later when they’re deciding the best custody arrangements. Good reasons for denying one parent access to the child include child abuse, drug abuse, domestic violence, or untreated mental illness.

Does the child’s age matter?

Whether they are six months or sixteen, the age won’t impact a judge’s decision. As long as they are a minor, you can dispute custody or seek visitation rights. You’re free to establish paternity starting at birth and going up to the time the child turns 18.

If you get a paternity test, will you have to pay child support?

Yes. Every parent has to pay for their child until they turn 18, and it doesn’t matter if the child lives with you or not. Non-custodial parents are the ones who typically pay child support to the custodial parent to help support their child.

You have your name on the birth certificate, and the hospital staff signed it; does that prove paternity?

As long as the mother or another party doesn’t contest your name on the birth certificate, yes. A signed birth certificate is enough to establish paternity.

Can you establish paternity without involving a court or government agency?

Yes. You can draft a legally binding agreement that both you and the mother sign without going to the court. However, you can’t claim this is a court order unless a judge signs off on the agreement you set up.

Is submitting paternity paperwork to the state of Arizona free?

No. Arizona charges a filing fee. The amount depends on what paperwork you want to submit to establish paternity. If you have trouble affording this fee, a court can waive it if you request it.

Find Out More About Father’s Rights

Do you want to know more about your rights? Maybe you need an attorney to help guide you through the process of establishing paternity. If so, you can reach out and contact us. We’re happy to set up a consultation today!