Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona’s Defensive Driving School
What is Arizona’s Defensive Driving School?
Individuals cited with an Arizona moving violation can often attend defensive driving school in lieu of court or paying a ticket. The school is about a four hour class that teaches safe driving skills. Upon completion of the class, the traffic citation is dismissed without further consequence. If eligible for defensive driving, it is often wise to take advantage of that opportunity.
What is the benefit of attending Arizona’s Defensive Driving Diversion?
Upon successful completion of defensive driving, the moving violation, or criminal speeding charge, is completely dismissed. The dismissal avoids license points, increased insurance premiums, a record of the charge, and sometimes helps to avoid a license suspension when at risk of accumulating too many points.
Am I Eligible for Defensive Driving Diversion?
Arizona’s Defensive Driving has the following requirements and restrictions:
- The violation, for which you want to attend defensive driving, must be on the list of eligible moving violations.
- You must complete the defensive driving course 7 days prior to your first court date. Some courts offer time extensions to complete defensive driving. If you need an extension for completion, you must phone that individual court to ask for an extension. Not all court allow for extensions.
- To be eligible, you must not have completed Arizona’s Defensive Driving School for a violation that occurred in the past 12 months.
- If the moving violation involved an accident causing serious injury or death, you’re not eligible for defensive driving.
- If, at the time of the moving violation, you held a commercial driver’s license, you’re not eligible for defensive driving diversion. An exception to this rule is if the driver has since surrendered the CDL.
How Often Can I Attend Defensive Driving?
You can only attend Arizona’s defensive driving once every 12 months. The 12 month period is measured by the violation dates.
When is the deadline to complete defensive driving class?
You’re required to complete the defensive driving class 7 days prior to your first court date. If you miss that deadline, Judges have the discretion to give you more time to complete defensive driving. In any event, if you plan to attend defensive driving, it’s advisable to complete it 7 days prior to your first court date.
Can I Attend Defensive Driving for More Than One Violation?
No. You can only attend Defensive Driving for one eligible violation every 12 months. If you were cited with multiple offense, you’re allowed to attend defensive driving to dismiss one of the charges. For any remaining charges you must do one of the following: pay your fine, request a hearing, or appear in court at the time and date listed on your citation.
Can I take Defensive Driving School Online?
Yes, you have the choice to take it either online or in a physical classroom. Taking it online is obviously beneficial for those who live outside Arizona.
Where can I find an Arizona Defensive Driving class?
The following link contains Arizona’s certified defensive driving schools: List of Certified Schools. If you’re looking to do the class online, look for “online” in the school’s description. You can also call 888-334-5565 for a list of certified defensive driving schools.
Can I attend defensive driving if I live, or hold a license, in another State?
Yes, and you can even take the course online. While you can sometimes take defensive driving at a physical location in your home state, you can only do so when coordinated through a certified Arizona defensive driving school.
Can I attend Defensive Driving School to avoid a criminal speeding conviction?
Yes, but it’s in the sole discretion of the Judge. Defendants charged with excessive speeding are eligible to attend Defensive Driving School pursuant to A.R.S. §28-3392(A)(2); however, a Judge must be persuaded that defensive driving is appropriate given the particular facts and circumstances of your case. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney puts a Defendant in the best position to convince a Judge by writing a custom motion and making argument.
How long is Arizona’s defensive driving course?
You must receive at least 4 hours of defensive driving instruction. The time it takes for registration, or any breaks, doesn’t count toward that 4 hours.
Can I fight my ticket and then attend defensive driving if I lose?
No. People often think it’s clever to challenge the ticket hoping the officer won’t show with a plan to request defensive driving if they lose. This is a bad idea if you want to avoid the traffic conviction. You cannot contest the citation and later attend defensive driving. In fact, you need to complete defensive driving 7 days before your first court date.
Do I still get points on my MVD record (license) if I attend Defensive Driving?
No. That’s one of the primary benefits of defensive driving school. When you complete a defensive driving class, the charge is dismissed. The only consequence is that you cannot attend again for 12 months from the violation date.
What do I Need to Register for Defensive Driving?
When registering for defensive driving school, be sure to have the following: a government issued ID, a copy of your citation, a copy of any court order allowing defensive driving, and sufficient funds to pay for the class.
How Much Does Defensive Driving School Cost?
Every school is different. You’ll need to contact the defensive driving school to ask them about the total cost of the program. Typically, the cost ends up being about the same as paying the underlying ticket. But the real savings are in avoiding increased insurance premiums.
If you have questions about whether or not you are eligible for defensive driving school or if you are i need of an experienced DUI lawyer in Queen Creek or surrounding areas, contact our office today. Tim Tobin has been providing quality DUI and criminal defense services to clients all over the valley.
Timothy Tobin – Tobin Law Office
1910 S. Stapley Dr., Suite 221
Mesa, AZ 85204