While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Arizona driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Arizona driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for an Arizona driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of Arizona operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 8 or more points within a 12 months period, on your current driver record, your license will be suspended.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your Arizona driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense. Refusal to take a breathalyzer test is another reason for suspension.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in Arizona must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your Arizona driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway or if you are using a driver's license illegally.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle Division Chief Administrator can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Motor Vehicle Commission notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
Your license can also be revoked for the above reasons. A suspension has a definite time period whereas a revocation will result in your license being taken away. If you believe your license has been suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a Traffic Ticket Attorney or DUI Attorney.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ARIZONA DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Arizona driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. The three most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. You can surrender your license in person at an MVD Office by mailing it to:
Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division PO Box 2100 Phoenix AZ 85001-2100
- While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
- After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the Arizona MVD.
- You can also apply for a restricted driving permit. To find out if you are eligible, check here.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a Notice of Scheduled Suspension from the MVD, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. To request a hearing, you will have to write to:
Mail Drop 507M Executive Hearing Office Motor Vehicle Division PO Box 2100, Phoenix
The letter must include your first, middle and last name, date of birth, license number, mailing address, home and business phones, and Case Number. An administrative law judge or the MVD Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes three points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
You will receive a Notice of Restoration from the MVD after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. Generally, you will need to:
- Pay a restoration fee between $10-$50. The fee can be paid online or in person at a MVD Office. You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division P.O. Box 2100 Phoenix AZ 85001-2100
- Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
- In some cases your insurance company will have to submit an SR-22 certificate to the MVD before you get your license reinstated.
- It is more difficult to reinstate a revocation. Your driving record will be investigated before the MVD grants you a new license. You will have to telephone the MVD and ask for an Investigation Packet to start the processing.
Note that after you license is restored, you will be subject to a Mandatory Probation Period of one year, during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your Arizona driver's license.