Driving through traffic, you’re cut off by the car in front of you or you come across a drive driving too slowly in the fast lane. One snap movement in passing the car and a police officer is giving you an aggressive driving ticket. This is how too the Arizona aggressive driving law is triggered.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding how a person was charged, you should understand at the outset that it is a serious criminal charge. At Feldman & Royle, we represent clients charged with all types of criminal traffic offenses. We understand the seriousness of an aggressive driving charge, and we know how to provide you with the best chance of a dismissal, a reduction in the charge, or a not guilty verdict.
Aggressive driving is defined in detail in A.R.S. § 28-695. The definition of aggressive driving does not mean that you necessarily acted aggressively, as that term is used in everyday speech. Instead, the statute is very clear about what needs to be proven in order to be convicted of aggressive driving.
A person commits aggressive driving if both of the following occur:
In essence, there are very specific conditions that need to be met for the prosecution to make their case. While aggressive driving penalties can be severe, it is important to remember that aggressive driving is very fact specific and one of the easier criminal traffic violations to defend.
Unlike some minor traffic violations, aggressive driving is a crime and a class 1 misdemeanor under Arizona law. It bears a higher classification, and more severe penalties, than most traffic violations, including reckless driving, which is a class 2 misdemeanor. Aggressive Driving Penalties include:
For a second offense within 24 months the aggressive driving penalties increase. While a second offense is still a class 1 misdemeanor, in addition to the penalties for a first-time offender, the statute calls for a mandatory one-year suspension of your driving privileges.
Remember that, like other criminal cases, it is the prosecutor’s job to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. While every case is different, here are some of the defenses that may apply:
In sum, while the charge is a serious one, the evidence offered by the prosecutor can be challenged. And the way to provide yourself with the best chance of a dismissal or other positive result in your case is to hire the right lawyer for your case.
While the two crimes are often confused, make no mistake about the difference in aggressive driving vs reckless driving.
While these are the statutory and legal differences in aggressive driving vs reckless driving, the major issue is that in order to be found guilty of aggressive driving a judge must find that while speeding you committed two of the enumerated offenses. If you were speeding but only committed one offense, or committed an offense not enumerated in the statute, you are not guilty. In turn, if you committed one offense while speeding but the other offense after you stopped speeding or you acted aggressively while driving but weren’t speeding, then you’re not guilty.
In essence, aggressive driving follows a formula of strict statutory interpretation using the facts of your case. Reckless driving, on the other hand, is far more vague and only requires that the prosecutor prove that you drove with “reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.”