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Traffic Tickets and Violations in Arizona
Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Arizona for various violations of traffic law. Citations generally indicate the statute or code number of the violation, and explain how and when to pay the fine or respond to the ticket. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.
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TYPES OF VIOLATIONS
Most traffic tickets in Arizona are issued for civil or criminal penalties. Civil penalties include any type of moving or non moving violation. Criminal penalties are further categorized into misdemeanors (such as reckless driving or DUI) or felonies (like not stopping when you are asked to pull over).
MOVING VS. NON-MOVING VIOLATIONS
Violations are also classified by whether or not the vehicle was in motion at the type of the incident, and traffic tickets may therefore be for either moving or non-moving violations. Examples of moving violations include:
- Speeding or driving below the minimum speed
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Driving without a seat belt
- Drunk driving (DUI and DWI)
- Reckless driving
- Parking in a handicapped zone or other illegal parking
- Driving with an invalid vehicle registration
- Having expired or missing license plates
- Leaving a vehicle unattended and running
YOUR OPTIONS WHEN YOU RECEIVE A CITATIONMany citations do not require a court appearance, and you may admit guilt by paying the ticket directly. The citation will indicate how and by what date to pay the fine. You can pay online, in person at a courthouse or municipal offices, on the telephone or by mail. The addresses and phone numbers will be mentioned on the ticket. If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. While you may be able to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney, a trial will be scheduled if no agreement is reached. A trial gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF BEING FOUND GUILTYWhen you pay a ticket directly, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense, which carries the same consequences as being found guilty of the violation in court. Motorists who either plead guilty directly or are found guilty of an offense should be aware of the following possible consequences:
- Certain traffic offenses, including speeding and other moving violations, are automatically reported to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. Arizona routinely provides information concerning traffic ticket convictions to other states.
- The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division follows a point system to track violations and their corresponding penalties. Points are added to your driving record which could result in your license being suspended. For more information, see our Point System section.
- Arizona drivers that accumulate points on their driving record are often subject to higher car insurance premiums.