In Arizona so much of our lives center around our cars. Pretty much everything we do and everywhere we go requires a car. But the use of cars can also mean increased risk of accidents and even death. Consequently, there are many crimes in Arizona that are vehicular in nature – some are even felonies. If you've had the misfortune of receiving a criminal traffic citation or got arrested for a traffic offense, you need an experienced criminal traffic lawyer. At Feldman & Royle we offer a free consultation to discuss the details of your case as well as the possible penalties and defenses.
Criminal Traffic Violations Explained
One of the more common criminal traffic violations in Arizona, reckless driving pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-693, requires proof that you drove with “reckless disregard of the safety of people or property.” The exact definition of reckless disregard can vary from person to person which is what makes this crime so often charged but also so commonly successfully defended. Read more
Typically referred to as drag racing, exhibition of speed charges pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-708, are extremely common in Arizona. Arizona’s drag racing statute is fairly broad and doesn’t even require that you actually race another vehicle in order to be charged with exhibition of speed. Read more
A fairly obscure criminal violation, A.R.S. § 28-695, requires that the prosecution prove very specific facts. In essence, to be found guilty of aggressive driving the prosecution must prove that while speeding (or criminally speeding) you also violated at least two other enumerated civil traffic violations. Read more
Probably the most common of all of the criminal traffic violations. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-701.02, criminal speeding occurs when a person:
- Exceeds 85 mph; or
- Exceeds the posted speed limit by more than 20 mph in a business or residential area; or
- Exceeds 35 mph in a school zone.
While commonly charged, criminal speeding charges can also come with some harsh penalties. Read more
Should I Hire a Criminal Traffic Lawyer?
You probably already know what happens when you ask a lawyer if you should hire a criminal traffic lawyer. However, it’s important to remember that if you decide not to hire a lawyer and you end up pleading guilty or being found guilty, the long-term costs could quickly outweigh your legal fees. There are four main reasons to hire a lawyer.
- Long Term Costs. A conviction for a criminal traffic offense can often mean a major increase in your insurance rates for as long as 3 years. When you add that to the cost of paying the ticket, you could end up laying out a lot more money than you might expect after pleading guilty.
- Protecting Criminal History. Many criminal traffic violations are far more serious than people think. In fact, many are misdemeanors under Arizona law, and some are even felonies. Without an expungement law in Arizona, a conviction will stay on your criminal record for life.
- Avoiding Jail. Because criminal traffic violations are crimes in Arizona, the potential for jail time is possible for all charges. In some instances, a conviction can carry mandatory jail.
- Avoiding License Suspensions. After a finding of guilt for a criminal traffic offense, the court will report the conviction to MVD. From there, MVD will apply points to your license and in some instances suspend or revoke your license.
In the end, more is riding on the outcome of the case than the money you may spend in legal fees. And hiring an experienced criminal traffic lawyer definitely increases your chances of a dismissal or a reduced charge or sentence.
Defending a Criminal Traffic Violation
There is no definitive list that will capture every possible defense, but we can tell you that certain strategies appear to apply to vehicular cases on a regular basis. They include the following examples:
- Factual Attacks. criminal traffic charge, whether it’s a minor traffic ticket or a more serious offense, often begins with the observations of a police officer. The officer may say, for example, that you blew through a stop sign. Usually, you can’t expect to win an argument based solely upon your word against the officer’s. But you can use witness statements, for example, to cast doubt on the officer’s testimony.
- Strict Legal Construct. Several of the more common traffic violations require strict compliance of the law to the facts. If the officer misses even one small detail a case can be thrown out.
- Subjective Conclusions. Several criminal traffic offenses involve the personal conclusions of the officer. Determinations of reckless behavior or whether someone was endangered are not necessarily factual issues and often involve the officer’s personal conclusions. Unlike physical observations, the officer’s conclusions are subjective and can be contested.
- Constitutional Violations. Because criminal traffic offenses are crimes in Arizona, the rights given to you by the U.S. and Arizona Constitution apply. Violations of these rights by law enforcement can lead to reductions and dismissal of charges.
The point here is that even if it appears to you that there is no chance to fight the charge successfully, an experienced criminal traffic lawyer may be able to help.
Criminal Traffic Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
At Feldman & Royle, we represent clients charged with a wide range of vehicular and traffic offenses from criminal speed to vehicular homicide. We are known for our experience and commitment to our clients. to the needs of our clients. If you have been charged with a criminal traffic violation, contact us to schedule a free consultation.