What Can I Do if I Didn’t Know My License Was Suspended But I Get Charged?
In Arizona, a driver’s license can be suspended for a number of offenses, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, multiple traffic violations, or other serious driving-related offenses. A person whose license is suspended is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle until they get their license reinstated.
However, there are a lot of drivers that are unaware that their licenses are suspended. And should they get pulled over by a police officer on the road and it comes to the officer’s attention that they are driving without a valid license, they can get charged with a criminal offense.
Not Knowing the License is Suspended Can Be a Defense
If a person is caught driving with a suspended license, they shouldn’t just plead guilty, especially if they were unaware that their license was suspended in the first place. The lack of knowledge that their license has been suspended can be a defense that will acquit them of the criminal charge.
For the prosecution to prove that a driver is guilty of driving with a suspended license, they must show two things:
- That the license has in fact been suspended by the Arizona DMV
- That notice of the suspended license was provided to the driver
If a driver was unaware of the suspension of their license because the DMV didn’t send a notice or the notice was sent to the wrong address, the driver can be acquitted and free from the criminal charge.
However, if it is proven that the driver was successfully notified of the suspension but they don’t know about it because of the failure to appear, they may be found guilty and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and over $4,000 in fines.
Speak to a Lawyer
A person who is charged with a criminal offense for driving with a suspended license should speak to an attorney who can help them build a solid defense. If they did not know that their license was suspended, a lawyer can help prove it in court and obtain an acquittal.
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