In Arizona, a person’s driver’s license can be suspended, revoked, cancelled for several reasons including criminal convictions, alcohol crimes, license points, unpaid fines, child support and failing to appear at Court.
If this occurs the Arizona Department of Transportation will mail a suspension or revocation notice to the driver’s last known address as required by Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) § 28–3318 (C):
“The department shall send the notice by mail to the address provided to the department on the licensee’s application or provided to the department pursuant to section 28-448. If an address has not been provided to the department as provided in this subsection, the department shall send the notice to any address known to the department, including the address listed on a traffic citation received by the department.”
Sometimes, a person may not receive the notice and continue to drive without realizing their driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. It is important to know that the State does not need to establish that you actually received the notice. A.R.S. § 28–3318(E) states:
28-3318. Service of notice; definitions
Compliance with the mailing provisions of this section constitutes notice of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, disqualification or certified ignition interlock device limitation for purposes of prosecution under section 28-1383, 28-1464 or 28-3473. The state is not required to prove actual receipt of the notice or actual knowledge of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, disqualification or certified ignition interlock device limitation.
If you are stopped by authorities while driving on a suspended or revoked license you may be arrested, jailed, fined and your vehicle impounded. Jail for a 1st time offended may be unlikely. However, if you have a prior record things can become more challenging as prosecutors push for maximum penalties.
Driving on a Suspended License is a Class 1 Misdemeanor
A person knowingly operating a motor vehicle on a public highway with a license that is suspended, revoked, or cancelled may be subject to a class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to 28-3473. A class 1 misdemeanor can lead to a fine of up to $2,500, six months in jail and your vehicle can be impounded.
If you operate a vehicle while your license is suspended, revoked or cancelled and are stopped by police, the police officer has the right to remove, immobilize or impound the vehicle pursuant to ARS §28-3511.
You Have Legal Rights & Defenses
Issues with Notice
The State must comply with notice laws. If the State did not provide proper notice and mailing of your suspension, revocation or cancellation, you have a defense.
Citizens are free from unwanted and unsupported governmental intrusions. Evidence obtained illegal or without a proper legal justification cannot be used against you. Lack of reasonable suspicion, lack of probable cause, denying a person’s right to legal counsel, statements under duress are all violations of fundamental rights.
No Evidence of Driving
Arizona’s suspended license law requires that you actually be found “driving” a motor vehicle. If you were not observed driving, you have an excellent defense. If you admitted to driving, the State still needs to support the charges independent your confession, this is called “corpus delicti”. “This common law rule prevents a defendant from being convicted “based upon ‘an uncorroborated confession without independent proof of the corpus delicti, or the body of the crime.’“ State v. Rubiano, 214 Ariz. 184, ¶ 6, 150 P.3d 271, 272–73 (App.2007), quoting State v. Morgan, 204 Ariz. 166, ¶ 15, 61 P.3d 460, 464 (App.2002).
When you are facing criminal charges contact an experienced attorney to help you. Do not attempt to handle the case on your own as there can be serious consequences.
Contact Kester Law Group for a completely free & confidential, no obligation, consultation. Call us at (480) 771-6000 or submit a contact form and an attorney will call you back immediately.