Driving is considered a privilege and not a right. That is why you can lose your driving privileges for a variety of reasons. For example, if you are caught driving under the influence, if you do not pay court-ordered fines, reckless driving, automobile homicide, and felonies can all cause you to lose your license.
If you are caught driving on a suspended license, then it is a good idea for you to call a criminal attorney. There are many negative consequences that can result if you are caught driving.
Driving on a suspended license is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Arizona. While there is no mandatory minimum fine, the maximum penalty is up to six months in jail. While that is unlikely, prosecutors frequently recommend a day or more in jail, especially if you have prior convictions for driving on a suspended license. You may also be charged a fine of up to $2500 plus surcharges. Additionally, you may be put on probation for up to three years and ordered to do community service.
There is a possibility that the judge will add on to your suspension time. Your vehicle may also be impounded for 30 days.
One of the reasons that you should hire a criminal lawyer is because they can help you make a valid defence. In fact, it is possible for you to avoid getting punished at all. Here are some valid defenses your lawyer might help you make to the court.
An Arizona criminal attorney can argue that you did not even know that your license was suspended. The State has to prove you were notified of the suspension. The Department of Motor Vehicles has to tell you that your license has been suspended.
If you did not get the notification in the mail because you moved, but you did not provide MVD with your new address, then this defense will not work as it is your obligation to notify MVD of the address change within 10 days of moving.
However, if you were not properly notified, then you cannot be held responsible for driving on a suspended license.
Mistakes happen all the time. You cannot be held responsible if your license was suspended in error.
For example, you paid a fine that you were required to. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles suspends your payments because they didn’t document it properly. This is not something that you can be held responsible for.
Your attorney can review the circumstances of your case. They may then choose to argue to the court that your license should have never been suspended.
Driving in an emergency is not a legal defense, but a legitimate emergency may mitigate the penalty from the court. Your attorney can convince the judge that you were in an emergency situation and had to drive. The judge can use their own discretion to determine whether you should get a lighter punishment.
Often, the suspension is due to a nonpayment of a traffic fine to the court. The court had notified MVD that you failed to pay the traffic fine and MVD suspended your license as a result. If you take the steps needed to correct or remove the suspension, the courts and prosecutors are more willing to reduce the penalties on this offense.
Whatever your case, it is important to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you with this charge. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.