Aggressive Driving in Arizona is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Arizona Revised Statute 28-695 defines this offense. Indeed, the statute does not necessarily require a subjective interpretation of “aggressive”. Rather, the statute clearly details what the State must prove to convict a driver of Aggressive Driving. Specifically, A.R.S. 28-695 states:
A person commits Aggressive Driving if BOTH of the following occur:
- While Speeding (civil or criminal speed),
- The driver’s behavior creates an “immediate hazard” to other people or driver’s on the road, AND
- Driver commits at least TWO of the following violations:
- Failure to obey traffic control device (traffic light) under A.R.S. 28-644;
- Passing another vehicle on the right, by leaving the pavement or the traveled portion of the road per A.R.S. 28-724;
- Making an unsafe lane change under A.R.S. 28-729;
- Following Too Closely or Tailgating under A.R.S. 28-730; and/or
- Failing to yield the right of way pursuant to A.R.S. 28-772.
Simply put, Arizona police and prosecutors may charge a driver with Aggressive Driving when a driver’s speeding creates an “immediate hazard” to others PLUS the driver is committing two of the above-enumerated violations.
“Keeping Your Cool” on Arizona Freeways
Driving can always be a frustrating experience. This is especially true in Arizona and especially in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Indeed, Arizona is home to a significant rise in road rage incidents. And a person utilizing their vehicle in an aggressive manner may lead to serious charges and a loss of liberty. Specifically, a reckless driver faces charges for Criminal Speeding, Reckless Driving, Racing or Aggressive Driving. More severely, a driver intentionally, knowingly or recklessly uses a vehicle as a “dangerous instrument” faces mandatory prison felonies. These dangerous mandatory prison offenses include, Endangerment, Aggravated Assault, Manslaughter or Second Degree Murder due to reckless disregard for human life.
Obviously, it is important for a person to “keep their cool” in every situation. For whatever reason, drivers become enflamed often times at the smallest slights. Arizona has a high volume of criminal cases involving road rage incidents resulting in people not only brandishing, but firing guns at other drivers. Aggressive Driving is not the same level of offense as an Aggravated Assault but the behavior is a problem in Arizona. As such, Arizona prosecutors handle these cases with such problems in mind and often times seek harsh results.
Consequences for Aggressive Driving in Arizona
Aggressive Driving in Arizona is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The penalties for this include:
- Up to 6 Months Jail
- Not More than 3 Years Probation
- Up to a $2500 Fine (plus an 83% surcharge of $2075)
- Possible Driver’s License Suspension
Indeed, the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicle (“DMV”) receives the Aggressive Driving conviction abstract from the Court. The DMV typically takes action post-conviction. And an Aggressive Driving conviction imposes 8 MVD points upon a driver’s license. Imposition of 8-points triggers either a 30-day driver’s license suspension or Traffic Survival School (“TSS”) requirement. TSS is the best case scenario, if a person is eligible. A person has not completed TSS within the past year is eligible. TSS completion results in the ticket dismissal and no assessed points against one’s driver’s license.
It is important to note that a second Aggressive Driving conviction within 24 months carries a 1-year driver’s license revocation. Unfortunately, insurance rates hikes or even denials in coverage may occur due to an Aggressive Driving conviction. It is important to consult with and retain an experienced Aggressive Driving/Vehicular Crimes Attorney if faced with charges. Specifically, Huss Law, PLLC founding attorney Jeremy L. Huss has been handling Vehicular Crimes in Arizona for over 20 years.
Defenses to Aggressive Driving in Arizona
The importance of retaining the best Aggressive Driving Attorney in Arizona is imperative. Indeed, defending an Aggressive Driving case must focus on the arresting officer’s observations. Although there is a possibility independent witnesses may testify, it is typically the arresting officer. As such, thoroughly investigating the officer’s subjective observations is crucial. Because a person’s life and liberty depends on it, only experienced criminal defense counsel should undertake this exercise.
The most commonly asserted Aggressive Driving defense is the driver did not pose an “immediate hazard” to another vehicle or person. The State has the burden of proving each element beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, aggressive driving in Arizona requires proof of an “immediate hazard” to another and specific traffic violations. Many times patrol officers will focus on and objectively articulate the required traffic violations. However, officers often fail to sufficiently articulate necessary facts to prove an “immediate hazard” to another. What is an “immediate hazard”? Unfortunately, the definition comes solely from law enforcement testimony. However, an effective Aggressive Driving criminal defense attorney will effectively cross-examine the patrol officer. This will include exploring the officer’s vantage point and ability to diving attention. How did the officer drive safely in traffic and sufficiently observe is one of several inquiries.
Additional defense beyond attacking the facts may be available as well. These additional defenses include possible right to counsel issues. This occurs when a person is denied the ability to speak to their lawyer. Their are also potential “voluntariness” issues and “Miranda” issues focusing on a person’s right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the United State’s Constitution.
Huss Law, PLLC as Your Aggressive Driving Attorney
Clearly, an Aggressive Driving conviction carries significant penalties. Specifically, a convicted driver faces jail, license suspension/revocation, and potential insurance rates/coverage issues. Indeed, there is a great deal of emotion accompanying any vehicular case. Aggressive driving cases are no different. Due to the significant ramifications and the high emotions, it is important to consult with and retain an experienced Arizona Aggressive Driving lawyer.
Jeremy L. Huss, founder of Huss Law, PLLC, has been handling Arizona vehicular crimes for over 20 years. Specifically, Mr. Huss was an Arizona prosecutor for nearly 13 years and worked closely with patrol officers and traffic investigators. Moreover, Mr. Huss provided training to law enforcement on traffic-related investigations including DUI. Mr. Huss has handled vehicular crimes as defense for years as well. This includes Aggressive Driving, Reckless Driving, Criminal Speeding and Racing cases. As such, it is imperative to contact Mr. Huss today. Specifically, anybody charged with or under investigation for Aggressive Driving should contact Huss Law immediately for a free consultation.Categories:: Criminal Defense, General, Vehicle Crimes, Vehicle Offense