New Driving Laws in Arizona in 2018

Two bills related to driving were passed in 2018 in the Arizona Legislature. Below is a brief summary of the new driving laws in Arizona. Driving laws effect the vast majority of Arizonians, so being cognizant of these changes will help you be aware of the penalties out there for yourself and if you are injured on the road by another.

House Bill 2169 establishes a substantial overhaul of Arizona restricted driving penalties and violations. Currently, the Arizona Department of Transportation has the ability to revoke, suspend, or cancel a person’s driver license for traffic offense, not paying court fines, failure to appear in court, and other reasons. Below are some of the major aspects of new driving laws in Arizona House Bill 2169.

This bill consolidates current statutory restricted driver’s licenses and establishes restricted driving privileges. The new bill provides the limitations that can be used when issuing a restricted driving privilege:

  • Between residence and workplace or school for a specific time frame or according to a person’s schedule;
  • Between residence, school, or workplace and a heath professional office;
  • Between a person’s residence, workplace, or school and appointments for education or treatment;
  • Between residence, workplace, or school and scheduled probation appointments;
  • Between person’s residence, workplace, or school and certified ignition interlock device service facility;
  • Between a person’s residence and location for parenting time; and
  • Transporting a dependent between a residence and the dependent’s employment, school, or medical appointment.

House Bill 2169 also reflects a new section on civil penalty mitigation. A judge may now mitigate any civil penalty for traffic violations if the person demonstrates that paying the penalty would be a hardship on the person or their immediate family. In determining if there are mitigating factors, the Court may consider the impact on the person’s ability to pay restitution, whether this would create a financial hardship, whether the person receives any federal or state welfare assistance, and whether that person is authorized to be employed or is seeking employment or in school.

new driving laws in arizonaThis bill also reduces some of the penalties for driving under a suspended license. The bill first reduces the classification from a Class 1 misdemeanor (6 months/$2,500 surcharges) to a civil traffic violation if the suspension was due to a failure to pay civil penalties for failure to appear. It also reduces the classification for violating a license restriction from a Class 2 misdemeanor (4 months/$750 plus surcharges) to a civil traffic violation if the restriction is a corrective lens requirements.

This bill attempts to consolidate the tedious statutes for restriction penalties. It also realizes that punishing those who drive under restrictions for not paying civil penalties only creates a cycle of continuous court appearances for those who risk the penalty to drive to work to provide for their livelihood.

House Bill 2243 establishes a new driving penalty related to wrong-way driving. Currently Arizona law does not contain a moving violation specifically associated with driving the wrong way on the highway.

“Wrong-way” is codified as vehicular movement that is in a direction opposing the legal flow of traffic. Wrong way does not include median crossing or a collision where a motor vehicle comes to a stop facing the wrong way.

A person convicted of this traffic offense is subject to a $500 penalty and must attend and complete traffic survival school educational sessions.

The specific “wrong-way” offense is also added to the provisions of Arizona DUI laws. For a person who commits a regular, extreme, or aggravated DUI violation while driving the wrong way on a highway, this person faces a class 4 felony (2 ½ years, up to $150,000 surcharges) and a minimum of 4 months incarceration.

Consult experienced criminal defense lawyers in Arizona when facing issues due to new driving laws in Arizona.