Fight Traffic Ticket in Arizona
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When you're handed a traffic ticket you don't deserve, don't complain to your friends and family—tell it to the judge.
You have the legal right to fight your Arizona traffic ticket by pleading “not guilty" and going to court.
Read below for more on how the process works and what you can expect when fighting your AZ traffic ticket.
Pleading Not Guilty in Arizona
There is no state-wide agency that handles traffic violations in Arizona. The specific information you need varies by the county in which you were ticketed.
Regardless of where your citation was issued, the first thing you need to do is contact the court and let them know you intend to plead “not guilty" (not responsible) and request a hearing. You can do this by visiting the court on or before the court date on your ticket. Some courts will also accept written requests sent by mail.
Once the court accepts your request, your hearing will be scheduled.
*NOTE: Pleading not guilty means you're legally arguing that you are innocent of all violations in question. Gathering any evidence to support this claim before going to court is highly recommended.
Want to spend more time in class and less time in court? In Arizona, your eligible traffic violation may be dismissed if you complete a defensive driving course. You must agree NOT to fight your ticket to take advantage of the program.
Find out more on our guide to Arizona traffic school.
Fighting Your AZ Traffic Ticket
Your Arizona traffic ticket hearing will be a lot like a trial. However, a state prosecutor will not be present.
You will be expected to represent yourself in court, unless you hire an AZ traffic ticket lawyer. Arizona does not offer court-appointed attorneys for traffic cases.
At your hearing, you or your attorney will get the chance to:
- Argue the law.
- Call witnesses.
- Present other evidence.
- Question a police department representative.
Once your hearing is complete, the judiciary official in charge will rule you either guilty or not guilty.
When figuring whether to fight your AZ traffic ticket, there are a number of financial factors to keep in mind.
Besides the original fine on your citation, you could end up paying for:
- Time off work to attend court.
- Additional court fines if you lose.
- Attorney fees.
- Potentially higher auto insurance.
Not sure how fighting your ticket relates to your auto insurance rate? Find out more about the process, and how to avoid higher rates if you lose your case.
Consequences of Fighting Your Ticket
After your trial wraps up, a ruling will be entered by the judiciary official in charge.
If you win and are found not guilty, the case is over. Your AZ traffic ticket will be dismissed and you will NOT:
- Have the violation on your driving record.
- Need to pay the traffic citation fine.
If you are found guilty and lose, however, the violation will stay on your driving record, and you may also have to:
- Pay additional court fees.
- Pay the original fine.
- Face additional penalties.
Depending on how severe the incident, you may also potentially:
- Have your license suspended.
- Can happen even if you live out of state.
- Accumulate points.
- Serve jail time.
- Be ordered to perform community service.
Legal repercussions are on a case-by-base basis. Make sure to ask the judiciary official or your Arizona traffic ticket attorney about any other potential consequences of losing your case.
Whether you win or lose, the fate of your AZ driving record hangs in the balance!
Make sure the document accurately reflects the outcome of your trial by ordering your driving record for review.
Missing Your Court Date
Don't be late for a very important date—missing out on court could leave you worse off than losing your case.
You could face any number of consequences for missing your court date, including:
- Points added to your license.
- A warrant issued for your arrest.
- The original violation staying on your driving record.
- License suspension.
- Additional fines and fees.
If you realize the set date won't work for you, or you'll otherwise miss it, it's highly recommended to call the appropriate court as soon as possible and ask to reschedule.