You may be surprised by the number of people who don’t have a driver’s license in Arizona. 11.2 million drivers over 18 years old do not have a license in America, and millions more drivers under 18 do not have licenses. Arizona is one of the states with the highest number of unlicensed drivers. Five hundred sixty-five thousand people in the state do not have a license. It is essential to understand what happens if the police pull you over or arrest you for driving without a license In Arizona.
You must have a valid driver’s license to drive in Arizona. According to Arizona Revised Statutes 28- 3151, it is against the law to drive without a valid license in the state. You contravene the law when driving or operating a motor vehicle without a valid driving license. The prosecution can find you liable for the offense under various circumstances. First, the prosecution can find you liable for the offense if you never obtained a driver’s license from the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles. Secondly, the prosecution can find you liable for the offense if you do not have your license with you when the police pull you over. Thirdly, the authorities can find you liable if you drive with an expired driver’s license. Lastly, you can be liable for the offense if you drive with a revoked or suspended driver’s license.
If convicted of the offense, the court can sentence you to a jail term or charge you a penalty, or both. Fortunately, you can present various defenses against the charge.
If you or your loved one is facing a driving without a license charge, you need to enlist the services of a well-experienced criminal attorney. At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we have represented numerous defendants charged with the offense. We are well versed with the Arizona justice system, and our team is committed to giving you first-rate legal representation. Are you in Phoenix and have been accused of driving without a license? Contact us today!
Read On To Understand More About The Charge Of Driving Without A License In Arizona.
Circumstances Under Which The Prosecution Can Find You Liable Of The Offence Of Driving Without A Driver’s License
In Arizona, the prosecution can find you guilty of the offense of driving without a license if the authorities apprehend you operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
The prosecution can charge you with the offense under four specific circumstances. The court can find you guilty of the offense if you never obtained a driver’s license, driving without a license because you forgot to carry it, driving without a license because yours is expired, and driving on a suspended or revoked license. Let us give these circumstances a closer look.
Contravening The Law By Driving A Vehicle Without A Driver’s License Because You Never Obtained One
It is against the law to drive a vehicle without a driver’s license because you never obtained one from the DMV. If the police apprehend you without a license, the prosecutor can charge you with a class 2 misdemeanor. In most cases, the court will charge you a $120 fine.
Driving Without A License Because You Forgot To Carry Yours
According to Arizona law, it is a requirement for you to have your driving license every time you are operating a vehicle. If the prosecution proves you drove a car without a license, the court can charge you a $120 fine. In most cases, the court will dismiss the charge if you show up in court with your valid driving license.
Driving With An Expired License
In Arizona, your driving license expires after you attain the age of 65. After 65 years, you have to renew it after every five years. Therefore, the authorities can arrest you if you drive with an expired license, especially if you are a senior citizen. If the court finds you liable, the judge can charge you a $120 fine.
Driving On A Suspended Or Revoked License
In Arizona, driving on a suspended or revoked license is a more severe offense that carries a higher penalty. The DMV can suspend or revoke your license for several reasons. The penalties for the crime depend on the reason for the suspension or revocation of your driving license.
The authorities can revoke, suspend or cancel your license for several reasons. These reasons include unpaid fines, criminal convictions, DUI, among other similar offenses. The Arizona DMV will mail you the suspension or revocation to your current physical address. They will send the suspension or revocation to the address you provide to the department. Remember, the department does not have to prove your suspension receipt. They only need to confirm they sent the suspension or revocation to the address you have provided.
In Arizona, driving on a suspended or revoked license is an offense. The court charges the offense as a class 1 misdemeanor. The judge can charge you a maximum fine of $2,500, sentence you to a maximum jail time of six months, and the authorities can also impound your vehicle. Arizona law also gives the police officers the right to impound, immobilize or remove your car from the road if they find you operating a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked driving license.
What The Prosecution Must Prove To Charge You With The Offense Of Driving Without A License
In Arizona, the prosecution must prove certain elements of the crime for the court to find you guilty of the offense. Below are the elements the prosecution must prove to find you guilty of the crime.
You Were Driving The Vehicle At The Time Of The Arrest
The prosecution must prove you were the one driving the car at the time of the arrest. According to the law,” drive” means you were operating the vehicle, or you had its physical control.
The Prosecution Must Prove That A Person Was Driving The Vehicle
The prosecutor also has to prove that a person was driving the car without a license at the time of the arrest. According to the law, a “person” can mean an individual, association, corporation, partnership, or society. Therefore, if a vehicle belongs to a particular company, the prosecution can charge the company with the offense.
You Were Driving On A Highway.
The prosecution also needs to prove you were driving the vehicle on the highway. Under Arizona Revised Statutes 28- 3151, “highway” means any road open to the public which a car can travel through. Therefore any public road you can drive your vehicle qualifies as a highway. It does not necessarily mean interstate highways and other highways in the traditional sense of the word.
The Arizona DMV issues driver’s licenses in Arizona. You receive your driver’s license from the Arizona DMV since the law mandates the body to issue the license. However, you have to pass a driving and written test before the department can issue you the license.
Penalties For Driving Without A License In Callifornia
The penalty for the offense of driving without a license depends on the charge the court finds you guilty of committing.
Penalties For Driving Without A Valid License In Arizona Because You Did Not Carry Yours
Under Arizona law, it is a severe offense to drive without a license. In most cases, the court will charge you a maximum fine of $120 for violating the law. Additionally, the authorities place points on your driver’s license. Consequently, your insurance company may increase your premium.
Penalties For Driving Without A License Because You Have Never Obtained One From The DMV
Under the law, the prosecution will charge you with a class 2 misdemeanor if the police arrest you for driving without a license because you have never obtained one from the DMV. The court can charge you a maximum fine of $750 or sentence you to up to four months in jail or both if found guilty of the offense.
If the court convicts you of the crime again, you could face a maximum jail term of six months, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
Defenses You Can Present Against The Charge Of Driving Without A License In Arizona.
It is your constitutional right to challenge any charge in a court of law. According to the constitution, the law presumes you are innocent until proven guilty through the due legal process. Therefore, you can present various defenses against the charge of driving without a license. However, it is critical to employ the services of a qualified criminal attorney to represent you in court. You can raise three primary defenses in court, as highlighted below.
You Had A Valid Driver’s License At The Time Of The Arrest
Although it is an offense to drive without a driver’s license in your possession, you can state before the judge that you forgot to carry the document. In such a case, the court may pardon you of the crime if you present the license and the court ascertains it was valid at the time of the arrest. The court may also reduce the penalty.
You Were Not Driving, Or You Were Not In Control Of The Vehicle
Under the law, you must be driving or in control of the car for the court to find you guilty of the offense. Therefore, you can state in your defense that you were not in control, nor were you driving the vehicle. You can say you were resting on the driver’s seat as you waited for the driver to come and take control of the car.
You Have A License From Another State.
Another defense you can present to the court is that you have a license from another state. However, for this defense to work, you must show proof to the court you are authorized to drive in the state that issued you the driver’s license. Additionally, the license must be valid.
What Happens If You Are Involved In An Accident While Driving Without A License In Arizona?
It is against the law to drive without a driver’s license in Arizona. However, the courts appealed the law, and driving without a license does not make you automatically liable for an accident. The law stipulates that failure to have a permit does not automatically make you a reckless driver. In Arizona, the at-fault driver can pay you damages even if you did not have your license at the time of the accident. It means you still have the right to fair compensation even if you did not have your license at the time of the accident. However, you will have to face the consequences of driving without a license.
It is also critical to understand the course of action the authorities will take if they stop you for speeding and you do not have a driver’s license. If a police officer stops you for speeding and discovers you do not have a driver’s license, they will book you for the offense of driving without a license in addition to issuing you a speeding ticket.
Can You Drive Without A License In Arizona If You Are A Visitor To The State?
You may also wonder if you can drive without a license in Arizona if you are a visitor to the state. The question may be more perturbing if you are an international visitor to the state. If you are from Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, and Canada, you can drive in the state without taking a driving test. However, you have to take a written test to drive legally in the state if you are from Canada.
The law requires you to obtain an Arizona driver’s license in some circumstances, even if you are a visitor. You must acquire an Arizona driver’s license if you work in the state. Secondly, you must acquire the document if you have registered to vote in Arizona. Thirdly, you have to acquire a license if you pay the stipulated tuition fee for your children and not the non-resident tuition fee for your kids. Fourthly, you have to register for an Arizona driver’s license if you have a business whose vehicles operate in Arizona and your base of operation is in the state. Lastly, you have to apply for a driver’s license if you stay in Arizona for more than seven months in a calendar year, no matter your resident status. However, you are exempt from these requirements if you are a student or military personnel living in Arizona. However, you have to acquire a driving permit.
Driving in Arizona with an out-of-state license is possible if you do not fall under the category highlighted above. However, it is recommended to have an international driver’s license for international visitors.
What You Can Do To Avoid The Authorities From Charging You With The Offense Of Driving Without A License
Apply For A Drivers Licence
It is imperative to avoid the charge of driving without a license by taking the necessary steps. First, you should acquire a driver's license if you have never acquired one before. In Arizona, you can acquire a provisional driver's license with limited privileges when you attain 16. At 18 years, you can acquire a standard driver's license. The process of obtaining the license is straightforward. However, you must pass a written and driving test.
Always remember to carry your license with you as you drive. You can place the document in your grove compartment together with your insurance and registration. You can also reinstate your driver's license if the DMV suspends or revokes your license.
Reinstating Your Driver’s License
Driving without a license is a significant inconvenience. You cannot go to school, work, or other important social and professional events. The good news is that the Arizona Department of Transport can reinstate your license. However. You can only do so if you fulfill all the reinstatement requirements.
Contact A Phoenix Criminal Lawyer Near Me
Arizona drivers with a valid license who violate state driving laws may receive a traffic citation and be subject to penalties, including fines and potential license suspension. If you receive a traffic citation in Arizona, the citation will contain information about the violation, such as a description of the offense, the date and time of the violation, and the location where the violation occurred. The Arizona Department of Transportation will suspend your license if you are cited for a DUI, reckless driving, or multiple moving violations within a specific time. If you do not have a driver’s license, you can still receive a traffic citation and be subject to penalties, fines, and possible jail time.
At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we have a wealth of experience representing clients who face driving without a license charge. If you are in Phoenix, AZ, and you face driving without a license charge, we are here to offer unparalleled legal assistance. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us at 602-551-8092 for a free consultation.