Defensive Driving in Arizona
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You may be eligible to have a traffic violation dismissed by completing a state-approved Defensive Driving Diversion course. The defensive driving program is voluntary, and is overseen by the Arizona Supreme Court. The course offers information on long-standing and newer traffic laws, while dealing with matters such as avoiding collisions and practical defensive driving techniques.
For the most part, only civil traffic moving violations are eligible for the class. Examples of these types of citations include speeding tickets and failing to yield. Check your ticket to see if a violation has been marked as being civil or criminal.
Note that if you were cited for multiple civil violations, you may only have one dismissed by going through the program.
Violations such as reckless driving, or driving while intoxicated, are considered as criminal offenses and are not eligible for this program. Some criminal speeding offenses may be eligible for the program, however, depending on how the court views the specific violation.
You should be given details on this program along with your citation, including the phone number for the specific schools you're permitted to attend. If it's a hardship to attend one of the assigned schools, you may ask the court to give you other choices.
Be aware that you can't attend another defensive driving school within 24 months from the date of the violation which caused you to enroll.
If you qualify and complete the class, your violation won't be included on your driving record, and you won't receive any points on your license. Because the infraction will not show on your driving record, your insurance rates may not go up, either. Contact your insurance company for information regarding your particular situation.
Commercial driver's license holders can't have traffic tickets dismissed by taking the program, even for violations that occurred while driving a non-commercial vehicle.
However, a judge may order you to attend the school, anyway, simply to receive the benefits of the class. This applies to anyone who has a valid commercial license when the violation occurs, or those who obtain a commercial license before enrolling in the class.
The state provides a list of approved defensive driving schools. Remember, you may only attend those you've been given permission to attend. Some schools offer online classes, while others provide classes for those who are hearing-impaired or only speak Spanish. Contact the schools directly for more information.
The cost for the course varies depending on the court and where you live. By completing the program, however, you won't have to pay the cost of the ticket.
If you receive a ticket while driving in another state, contact the proper authorities in that state to see if you can complete the Arizona defensive driving program and have the citation dismissed.
However, if you can, you'll need to take care of the paperwork yourself, and will need to follow up with the state in question. You will have to pay the state and school fees.
If you decide to go through the program, you may still enroll in the program again if you receive an eligible moving violation citation in Arizona, even if it's within 24 months of the out-of-state ticket.
For more information on the defensive driving program, call (602) 452-3378. You may also send an e-mail to ddrive@courts.AZ.gov, or write to:
- Defensive Driving Program
- 1501 W. Washington, Ste. 104
- Phoenix, AZ 85007-3231
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