What is required for an aggressive driving ticket?
Aggressive driving involves a potpourri of violations. As set forth in A.R.S. 28-695, an officer must allege:
- criminal speeding or civil speeding, and at least two other moving violations, chosen from the following:
- Failure to obey traffic control devices as provided in section 28-644.
- Overtaking and passing another vehicle on the right by driving off the pavement or main traveled portion of the roadway as provided in section 28-724.
- Unsafe lane change as provided in section 28-729.
- Following a vehicle too closely as provided in section 28-730.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way as provided in article 9 of this chapter.
- The person’s driving is an immediate hazard to another person or vehicle.
What are the consequences of an aggressive driving conviction?
The consequences can be severe. An aggressive driving conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means there is the potential for up to six months in jail, and $2,500 in fines plus surcharges, which would nearly double the fine. In practice, jail time is unlikely and the fine will be far less than the maximum.
In addition to the penalties that come along with a class 1 misdemeanor, the court may suspend the person’s driving privileges for up to 30 days, and the MVD will order the person to attend traffic survival school. If you are convicted of aggressive driving for a second time within 24 months, the MVD will suspend your license for one year.
As a practical matter, a ticket for aggressive driving will also include charges for the necessary elements – speeding and two of the other enumerated moving violations. If you were to be found guilty/responsible for all of the charges, you are looking at 15 points on your license which will get you a three month suspension. If you already have some points on your license, you could be looking at a longer suspension.
Defending against an aggressive driving charge:
The goal in a criminal traffic case is to avoid the criminal conviction if possible, or to at least mitigate the severity of a conviction. A good attorney will look for holes in the prosecution’s case. As you can see above, aggressive driving has at least 4 elements that the State must prove before the defendant can be convicted. In contrast, many criminal traffic violations have just a single element. Take excessive speed for example where the only element is was the driver driving above a certain speed. If the State fails to prove just one of those elements of aggressive driving, then the driver would not be convicted. It might also be possible to negotiate with the prosecutor and work out an arrangement wherein the defendant pleads to a reduced criminal charge or a civil charge. Every case is different, and the specific facts of the case will determine the possible outcomes.