Criminal Law

questions & answers

Question: I was cited for driving on a suspended license. I did not know my license had been suspended. I read that this criminal charge can result in jail time and fines. This is my first criminal offense. Should I get legal counsel? What are they typical rulings for first time offenders? I have been laid off and am not working, how to I get a public defender's help? Thank you in advance for your advice.

Answer: Here is the Arizona Revised Statute that deals with driving on a suspended license:

28-3473. Driving violations; classification; restricted privilege to drive

A. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public highway when the person's privilege to drive a motor vehicle is suspended, revoked, canceled or refused or when the person is disqualified from driving is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. If the suspension is pursuant to section 28-1601 (Failure to pay civil penalty) and the person presents to the court evidence that the person's privilege to drive has been reinstated, the court may dismiss the charge of driving under a suspended driver license.

B. Except for a suspension pursuant to section 28-1601 (failure to pay civil penalty) or 28-3308 (mandatory suspension, failure to appear at court), on receipt of a record of the conviction of a person under this section, the department shall notify a person who is eligible for a restricted privilege to drive pursuant to this section that the person is eligible. The department shall issue a license that restricts the person's privilege to drive as follows:

1. Between the person's place of employment and residence during specified periods of time while at employment.

2. Between the person's place of residence, the person's place of employment and the person's secondary or postsecondary school according to the person's employment or educational schedule.

3. Between the person's place of residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.

4. Between the person's place of residence and the office of the person's probation officer for scheduled appointments.

5. Between the person's place of residence and the office of a physician or other health care professional.

6. Between the person's place of residence and a certified ignition interlock device service facility.

C. On application, the department shall issue a driver license that restricts a person's privilege to drive pursuant to subsection B of this section and that is valid for one year only if all of the following apply:

1. The person has completed all requirements of the sentence imposed by the court.

2. The person has satisfied all suspension periods imposed on the person's driver license as a result of the conviction of or a finding of responsibility for a violation of any provision of this title except this section.

3. The person pays the applicable reinstatement fee prescribed by section 28-3002 (Fees).

According to Arizona Revised Statute 28-3511.A, your vehicle can be towed for 30 days if you are stopped by police.

The 5th amendment provides that you have the right to an attorney and if you can't afford one, the court will provide one for you.

You absolutely can seek the counsel of an attorney, if you feel you need to.

With this type of citation, you best option may be to contact the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and determine why your license was suspended. It may be something as simple as you not paying a fine. In any case, the courts and MVD are willing to work with you if you have financial constraints.

My recommendation would be contact MVD, contact the court in charge of your case (should be on the ticket you received). Ask them what your options are to resolve this issue. If you license was suspended for something other than non-payment of fines or missing a court date, you may want to consider contacting an attorney.

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I was cited for driving on a suspended license. I did not know my license had been suspended. I read that this criminal charge can result in jail time and fines. This is my first criminal offense. Should I get legal counsel? What are they typical rulings for first time offenders? I have been laid off and am not working, how to I get a public defender's help? Thank you in advance for your advice.

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