Under current Arizona law 1 it is a class 2 misdemeanor crime for a person to drive without corrective lenses (glasses or contact lens) when the driver’s license is restricted to require corrective lenses. As a class 2 misdemeanor the maximum possible sentence is 4 months in jail. In degree of seriousness it is the same as Recklessly Causing a Physical Injury in a Domestic Violence Assault. Arizona law does not permit expungement of criminal offenses and so if someone is found guilty of Driving Without Required Corrective Lenses, as a criminal conviction it remains on the driver’s record for the rest of their lives.
No one wants a driver to operate a motor vehicle when they cannot properly see however the offense commonly occurs when that is not what has happened. Sometimes people who have to driver licenses restricted requiring corrective lens, have laser surgery to correct their vision and thereafter forget to go to the MVD to have an eye test to get the license restriction removed. Thereafter they are stopped while driving for some other reason, the officer sees the driver is not wearing required corrective lens and issues a criminal citation for Driving Without Required Corrective Lenses. On the day of trial, for any number of possible reasons, the driver is unable to get his physician (who may be out of state) to testify or get even records showing that the surgery was successfully completed. Without that testimony and evidence, the driver is then convicted of the criminal offense even though there is no problem with their vision and the criminal conviction for Driving Without Required Corrective Lenses remains on their records for the rest of their lives.
2018 Arizona Session Laws, Chapter 113 2changes the law so that the offense of Driving in Violation of a License Restriction is a civil violation and no longer a crime. This change means Driving Without Corrective Required Lenses is no longer a criminal offense a conviction for which remains on a person’s record for life and a driver convicted of the offense cannot be sentenced to jail.
This change in the law takes effect on January 1, 2109 and applies to offenses committed on or after January 1, 2019.