Ticket Fines and Penalties in Arizona
Traffic ticket fines vary by violation and location. For example, the fine for speeding is not the same as the fine for improperly changing lanes; likewise, the fine for speeding might cost more or less if it's being handled on a county level than it would if it were being handled on a city level.
Check your traffic ticket for the exact fine; most AZ citations include them. If you've lost your ticket or can't find the fine, check our section on replacing lost AZ traffic tickets, or contactthe Motor Vehicle Division.
Other related surcharges, such as court costs, vary by court.
DUI-related fines don't vary.
- First DUI Offense: No less than $1,250.
- Second/Subsequent DUI Offenses: No less than $3,000.
- Extreme DUI (BAC 0.15% or higher) First Offense: No less than $2,500.
- Second/Subsequent Extreme DUI Offenses: No less than $3,250.
NOTE: In addition to paying these fines, expect to face jail time, community service, alcohol programs, ignition interlock systems, and/or license suspension or revocation. Learn more about the fines and penalties associated with DUI charges in the Arizona Driver License Manual and Customer Service Guide.
Defensive Driving Program Fees
You don't have to pay your traffic ticket fine if you attend a Defensive Driving Program course for ticket dismissal and point reduction; however, you will have to pay the following costs related to enrolling in a course:
- Court diversion fee.
- State fee.
- State surcharge.
- School fee.
These fees vary by county and may be increased further due to other costs such as notary fees and collection fees. Find a complete list of exact costs at Defensive Driving: Costs to Attend School.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine.
- Accumulate driving record points (sometimes leads to license suspension or revocation).
- Pay higher auto insurance rates.
- Possibly use Defensive Driving Program to satisfy ticket and point reduction.
Learn more about Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Contest the ticket during a hearing.
- Represent yourself or hire a traffic ticket lawyer for help.
- Possible lose the chance to plead to lesser charges.
- Pay only attorney fees (and possibly court costs) if found not guilty.
- Appeal the verdict, if found guilty.
Learn more about Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
Auto Insurance Rate Increase
Unless you use the Defensive Driving Program for ticket dismissal and point reduction, chances are your traffic ticket will cause a hike in your auto insurance rates.
You can avoid the rate increase by shopping for lower car insurance rates online.
AZ traffic ticket fines vary by violation and location, but penalties are the same statewide.
Arizona Point System
Each time you're convicted of a traffic violation, you receive a certain number of driving record points; points range from 2 points to 8 points, depending on the violation. Once you receive a certain number of points, you face license suspension or revocation (see below).
If you've just received a traffic ticket (and are eligible), you can enroll in a course approved by the state's Defensive Driving Program to dismiss a ticket and avoid points related to that ticket; however, those courses won't remove existing points. Sometimes, a court will order Traffic Survivor School (an entirely different program) for a driver who's close to license suspension due to point accumulation.
AZ Driver's License Suspension, Revocation, and Cancellation
Some AZ traffic violations lead to mandatory license suspension or revocation.
License Suspension: If your license is suspended, it means you temporarily lose your driving privileges. Usually, this time period only lasts as long as it takes to apply for reinstatement and pay both the reinstatement fee and license application fee, though depending on your circumstances it could last longer and involve additional requirements.
License Revocation: A license revocation lasts for a longer, predetermined time period. Once the period is over, the license remains revoked until an investigation determines the driver has met all requirements. Generally, a driver must pay a reinstatement fee and application fee to get his license back; he may even have to file an SR-22 Certification of Insurance and even pass the driving, vision, and road tests again.
License Cancellation: Outright canceling a driver's license in Arizona isn't common, but the MVD can do so for reasons it deems appropriate. Such reasons might include health or medical reasons or using false information to obtain the license.
Examples of reasons for license suspension and revocation include:
- DUI-related convictions (including both drugs and alcohol).
- Reckless driving or racing on the highway.
- Failing to stop and render aid (if you're involved in an accident).
- Using a vehicle to commit aggravated assault or homicide.
- Involving a vehicle in the commission of any felony.
- Committing a drive-by shooting.
- Being convicted of frequent serious violations.
Remember, any traffic violation you're deemed responsible for adds points to your driving record; so, even if you're not committing any of the serious offenses above, if you're committing any offenses at all you're putting yourself at risk for suspension.
If you accumulate more than 8 points within 12 months, you will either:
- Be required to attend Traffic Survivor School, or
- Have your license suspended.
The MVD and court system will notify you.
Check the Arizona Driver License Manual and Customer Service Guide for full descriptions of reasons your license can be suspended or revoked, including reasons unrelated to traffic tickets and points.
Penalties for Drivers Younger than 21 Years Old
Drivers younger than 21 years old face license suspension or revocation if they are convicted of:
- Receiving, possessing, or consuming alcohol.
- Any violation related to drug possession.
If you're caught driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, your license could be suspended for two years.
Furthermore, a minor with a GDL faces stiff penalties for receiving any traffic conviction.
- 1st Conviction: Mandatory Traffic Survivor School attendance.
- 2nd Conviction: License suspension of 3 months.
- 3rd Conviction: License suspension of 6 months.
Plus, each conviction is recorded on the teen's driving record.
The Arizona Driver License Manual and Customer Service Guide includes more details about the kinds of penalties teens and drivers younger than 21 years old face for traffic violations.
Penalties for Arizona Commercial Drivers
Remember: Notify your employer within 30 days of receiving a traffic citation. You must also notify the AZ MVD within 30 days if you received the citation in another state.
You might face CDL suspension if you:
- Operate your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of 0.04% or higher or under the influence of any controlled substance.
- Refuse to undergo a blood alcohol test.
- Use the vehicle in the commission of a felony.
- Fail to report an accident after leaving the scene.
- Use your CMV to cause a fatality.
- Drive your CMV with a suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified CDL.
If you commit:
- Any of these offenses while operating a CMV placarded for transporting hazardous materials, you could lose your CDL for 1 year on a first conviction
- A felony involving a controlled substance using your CMV, you could lose your CDL for life.
Typically, you'll lose your Arizona CDL for life if you commit any of the above offenses a second time.
Serious Traffic Offenses
If you commit:
- 2 serious offenses with your CMV during a period of 3 years, you can lose your CDL for at least 60 days.
- 3 serious offenses with your CMV during a period of 3 years, you can lose your CDL for at least 120 days.
Generally, serious offenses include:
- Driving 15 MPH or more over the speed limit.
- Driving in a reckless or careless manner.
- Changing lanes improperly or erratically.
- Driving too closely behind another vehicle.
- Operating a CMV without obtaining, or without having present, a CDL.
- Operating a CMV without the properly classed CDL.
- Committing an offense with your CMV that involves a fatal traffic accident.
You can lose your AZ CDL for other offenses, too, such as violating an out-of-service order or committing a railroad-highway grade crossing violation.
For more information, contact your local MVD CDL office for a copy of the CDL handbook.