Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona per A.R.S. § 28-3473 “Driving on a Suspended License” occurs anytime you operate a motor vehicle on a public highway if your privilege to drive a motor vehicle is suspended, revoked, cancelled, refused, or otherwise disqualified. This statute applies if you are suspended / revoked, etc. for any reason other than for failing to pay a fine, or failing to appear in court. If you are cited per A.R.S. 28-3482 for “driving on a license suspended for failure to appear or pay,” then you face a civil citation.
If you have been charged with Driving on a Suspended License in Phoenix or Arizona, you need effective and knowledgeable legal representation.
Possible Punishment for Driving on a Suspended License
As of January 2019, a conviction for Driving on a Suspended License, pursuant to A.R.S. 28-3473, is a Class one (1) misdemeanor. There are no longer any mandatory fines or mandatory jail time. However, as possible punishment for a Class one (1) misdemeanor, you may receive probation or up to six (6) months in jail.
If you have prior convictions for Driving on a Suspended License, then the prosecutors will normally seek jail time. For example, in the City of Phoenix, the prosecutor will normally seek five (5) days in jail for a second offense, thirty (30) days in jail for a third offense, ninety (90) days in jail for a fourth offense, and six (6) months in jail for a fifth or subsequent offense. Although the judge is not bound to give these punishments, they are usually inclined to give some additional jail time for each prior conviction. Additionally, if you are cited for driving on a revoked or suspended license your vehicle may be impounded by the law enforcement agency for up to 30 days.
Possible Defenses for Driving on a Suspended License
The key to defending a charge of Driving on a Suspended, Revoked or Cancelled License is showing that you did not “knowingly” drive while suspended. The State has the burden of proving that you were notified that your license had been suspended. However, the current case law allows the prosecutor to show that you “should have known” that your license was suspended. In other words, if you have moved and you did not change your address with the Motor Vehicle Department within ten (10) days of moving, then it is presumed that it is your fault that you did not receive your Notice of Suspension. However, it is always up to the jury (or to the judge if you are having a bench trial on a misdemeanor) to determine whether you should have had knowledge of your suspension. It is our job to convince them that you didn’t know, and you should not have known about the suspension or revocation.
Another argument we can use during trial is that many times the suspension notice indicates that you will be suspended for thirty (30) or sixty (60) days, then it tells you to read the fine print on the back of the Notice in order to determine your rights. What the notice does not make clear however, is the fact that until you pay a “reinstatement fee,” your license will be suspended until the end of time. Many people think that they served their suspension time and that their license was automatically put back into full force and effect. This can be very understandable during jury trials (especially Aggravated DUI jury trials) .
Because we are a very aggressive criminal defense firm, we will attack your Driving on a Suspended License charge, and any other charges that you may face, from all angles. In addition to the defenses discussed above, there are numerous defenses that can be asserted in any criminal case. These defenses include challenges to your constitutional rights, including a violation of your Miranda rights. In Arizona, the standard of whether any inculpatory statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. The denial of your constitutional right to Counsel is another common defense which we often raise. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but the request is denied and questioning continues.
Other possible defenses that may apply if you are facing other charges as well as your Driving on a Suspended License charge may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. These forensic flaws could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; etc. Lastly, one of the most important defense tools is exposing untruthful, sloppy, or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups, and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled and zealous attorney who knows all of the defenses to assert.
Because of the different laws that pertain to driving with a suspend license, it is advised that you have knowledgable legal representation on your side. For a free initial consultation and guidance, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.