Traffic Ticket FAQ in Arizona
What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in Arizona?
Determine whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty and do so within the allotted amount of time, which is usually printed on AZ traffic tickets.
Pleading guilty usually means paying your traffic ticket fine and another other related costs as well as dealing with associated penalties, like point accumulation; pleading not guilty means fighting your ticket in court. Your costs and penalties, or lack thereof, afterward depend on the verdict.
Some drivers are eligible to enroll in Defensive Driving Program course to have the ticket dismissed and avoid both paying the ticket fine and accumulating points (though there are still plenty of costs associated with defensive driving school).
How can I get a ticket dismissed?
Generally, you can:
- Fight the ticket in court and be found not guilty or "not responsible." When they choose this options, drivers often hire traffic ticket lawyers for assistance.
- Take part in the Defensive Driving Program. Eligible drivers can have tickets dismissed, avoid paying traffic ticket fines, and avoid accumulating points on their records.
What if I have an AZ CDL and get a traffic ticket?
First, be sure to let your employer know within 30 days of being convicted of a traffic violation.. Also notify the AZ MVD, if you are convicted in another state. This does not apply to violations for parking.
Second, understand that, except for not being able to enroll in a Defensive Driving Program course, your options to plead guilty or not guilty don't vary much from drivers with regular passenger vehicle licenses; however, if you're convicted, you do face stiffer penalties than they do for many violations.
Refer to our Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties section for more details.
What if I am younger than 21 years old and get a ticket?
If you're under 21 years old and convicted of either of the following, you could face license suspension:
- Receiving, possessing, or consuming alcohol.
- Any violation related to drug possession.
Getting caught driving with any amount of alcohol in your system can result in a license suspension of 2 years.
Refer to the Arizona Driver License Manual and Customer Service Guide for more information about young drivers.
What are the penalties for getting a traffic ticket if I have a GDL?
If you're younger than 18 years old and possess a Graduated Driver License (GDL), your penalties for traffic violation conviction depend on the offense number:
- First Conviction: Mandatory Traffic Survivor School attendance.
- Second Conviction: License suspension of 3 months.
- Third Conviction: License suspension of 6 months.
Note that each offense is recorded on your driving record and can carry additional penalties depending on the nature of the violation.
Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a traffic ticket I got while riding?
Only if the course is listed among the state's approved Defensive Driving Program schools, but, it isn't likely. Usually, the courts require a traditional driving class.
Check our section on ticket dismissal and point reduction for more information.
Can I use the Defensive Driving Program to reduce the number of driver's license points on my driving record?
Nope. The Defensive Driving Program will only prevent new points (associated with a current traffic ticket) from accumulating, but it won't remove existing points from your record. Only the Traffic Survivor School can do that, and usually the court recommends or orders your attendance.
Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?
Looking at a copy of your driving record is the only way to make sure:
- Your traffic ticket was dismissed and you didn't incur any points after completing a Defensive Driving Program course.
- It doesn't reflect a violation (or associated points) for which you were found not guilty during a hearing.
- You aren't accumulating enough points for license suspension or revocation.
For more information, head over to our section on obtaining AZ driving records.
What is the cost of my traffic ticket?
AZ traffic ticket fines vary by violation and location. Most tickets have the fines printed on them.
How many points will I get if convicted?
You'll receive anywhere from 2 points to 8 points, depending on your violation. For example, speeding can get you 3 points while DUI can get you 8 points. Anything that falls under "all other violations" can earn you 2 points.
Look at the Arizona Point System for more details.
Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?
No. They can vary from county to county, and even between county and city.
How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?
If you're eligible, you can check Arizona's Public Access to Court Information tool.
Not all drivers can use that option, though, so be sure to check our section on Lost Traffic Tickets for other possibilities.
When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?
A good rule of thumb is to hire a traffic ticket lawyer whenever you feel uncomfortable handling the situation on your own.
Attorneys can help you:
- Fight tickets in court.
- Deal with criminal charges.
- Plead to lesser offenses.
- Appeal guilty or "responsible" verdicts.
Note that some AZ courts require notice (within a certain time frame) that you'll have a lawyer when you appear in court. Be sure to contact your court as soon as you hire an attorney to avoid missing this deadline.
How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my driver's license?
Your license is at risk for suspension if you accumulate 8 points or more in a period of 12 months. We say "at risk" because sometimes drivers are allowed to attend Traffic Survivor School to avoid license suspension.
Learn more about the AZ point system.