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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.