Arizona Points Suspensions


In Arizona the commission of criminal and civil moving traffic violations lead to the assessment of points against the driver’s Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive. In this article I will outline the major consequences of the assessment of points.

Moving traffic violations lead to the assessment of points. Aggressive Driving, DUI, Racing and Reckless Driving convictions result in the assessment of 8 points. Leaving the Scene of an Accident is a 6 point violation. For several violations, such as Failure to Yield at Intersection and Red Light violations, if the violation results in a death then 6 points are assessed, and if a serious physical injury, 4 points are assessed. The violations relating to speed, namely Speed Not Reasonable Nor Prudent, Failure to Control Speed to Avoid a Collision and Excessive or Criminal Speeding result in the assessment of 3 points. A Gore Point violation is a 3 point violation. All other violations, such as Following Too Closely and Weaving, are 2 point violations. Non-moving violation, such as No Proof of Insurance and No Valid Registration, do not result in the assessment of points. Additionally, for points to be assessed for a moving violation the violation must be charged under state law and not a city code. For example, Squealing Tires is a violation of the Phoenix City Code, however, it is not a points violation because it is not a violation under state law.

Although it is not common, occasionally points are assessed for moving violations which have occurred outside of Arizona.

Accumulating 8 to 12 points within a twelve-month period will result in the driver being ordered to attend a Traffic Survival School, known as TSS. A Red Light violation will also result in a TSS assignment. Arizona MVD requires TSS must be attended in person, and will not accept completion of an online program. If the driver does not attend TSS when ordered to do so their Arizona driver’s license or privilege to drive is suspended for six months. A driver can end this six-month suspension at any point during the suspension by attending a TSS.

Accumulating 13 to 17 points within a twelve-month time period will result in a three-month points suspension; accumulating 18 to 23 points within a twelve-month time period will result in a six-month points suspension; accumulating 24 points within a thirty-six month time period will result in a one-year suspension.

Restricted licenses are not available for points suspensions, which means no driving at all is permitted.

If a driver has already been assigned to and attended a TSS, then upon accumulation of more points they are subject to a further suspension. If within twelve months of attending TSS the driver accumulates any points, or within 24 months accumulate 8 points, then they are also subject to a three-month points suspension.

TSS should not be confused with a separate school known as the Defensive Driving Program, or DDP. DDP permits the driver to attend a class, which can be done online, and thereby avoid having the points for a violation to be assessed against their Arizona driver’s record. A driver may attend DDP for any one civil point violation every twenty-four months. For example, if on one citation the driver is charged with both Weaving and Speed Not Reasonable Nor Prudent, the driver can only do DDP for one of the charges. A driver may attend DDP for Criminal or Excessive Speed but only with the permission of a judge. The fact that someone has been ordered to attend TSS within a twenty-four month time period does not preclude the driver from attending DDP. For my clients who have been ordered to attend TSS, most commonly for DUI or Reckless Driving, I tell them that, assuming they have not done DDP within the past two years, if they receive a moving violation within a year of doing TSS they should do DDP to avoid the three-month points suspension they would otherwise receive if found responsible for any more moving violations.

Lastly, points suspensions do not end until a reinstatement fee has been paid to the MVD. The expiration of the time period of the points suspension does not by itself end the suspension. Contact me for any questions and 24/7 for legal assistance. I am a Phoenix DUI lawyer with more than 42 years of experience in and out of the court room.

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