As a driver in Arizona, you have a responsibility to obey all traffic laws and roadway rules that apply to you. While you may know that you can get pulled over and be written a ticket for a traffic offense, you may not realize that certain traffic violations can lead to arrests and criminal charges being brought against you. Understanding the different types of criminal traffic offenses in Arizona can help you stay on the right side of the law.

Noncriminal Traffic Offenses 

There are two main types of noncriminal traffic violations in Arizona: moving and parking. As the name implies, a moving violation is an offense committed by a driver operating a vehicle that is in motion. Examples include speeding, making an illegal lane change or running a red light. A parking traffic offense refers to an illegally parked car, such as parking in a disabled spot without a sticker or permit. In general, the penalty for a noncriminal traffic violation is a fine and possible license suspension.

Criminal Traffic Violations in Arizona 

Certain types of moving violations in Arizona are severe enough to meet the definition of a criminal traffic offense. Typically, these are serious violations of the law that threaten public safety and put people at risk of harm. Examples of criminal traffic offenses in Arizona include: 

  • Criminal speeding (ARS 28-701.02): excessively exceeding the speed limit, particularly in a school zone. Criminal speeding is a class 3 misdemeanor offense that can lead to up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, up to one year of probation and three points assessed against a driver’s license.
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license (ARS 28-3473): operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, such as while the driving privilege is suspended, revoked, canceled or refused. This is a class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. 
  • Driving under the influence (ARS 28-1381): driving or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the intoxicating influence of any drug or liquor. A standard DUI is a misdemeanor, but an aggravated DUI is a felony. Penalties can include jail time, fines, a suspended or revoked license, and an ignition interlock device. 
  • Reckless endangerment (ARS 28-693): driving a vehicle with a reckless disregard for the safety of other persons or property. This is a class 2 misdemeanor that can result in up to four months in jail and $750 in fines, plus driver’s license suspension for up to 90 days.
  • Vehicular manslaughter (ARS 13-1103): recklessly causing the death of another person through the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle. This is a class 2 “dangerous” felony in Arizona that can come with jail or prison time. The maximum sentence is 21 years.

Other types of criminal traffic offenses in Arizona include driving without car insurance, racing on highways, aggressive driving, hit-and-run, unlawful flight from law enforcement, and aggravated assault with a vehicle (“deadly weapon”). If you have been arrested or accused of any kind of criminal traffic offense in Arizona, contact the Scottsdale traffic violations lawyers at Corso Law Group for legal advice and representation.

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