It’s possible that as a driver you are unaware that your license has expired or that you don’t think it’s a significant concern. Arizona driver’s licenses expire when you turn 65, so it’s an easy thing to forget.
However, getting in a car crash or being pulled over with an expired license might have significant implications. You can be ticketed, fined, or face other penalties and it may create further problems for you.
The good news is, If you get into an accident while driving with an expired driver’s license, you shouldn’t be legally or financially accountable for it. The negligent driver is held financially responsible for an auto collision under Arizona’s fault-based insurance law.
Are Driving without a License and Driving with a Suspended License the Same?
If your license is expired, you have never obtained it, or you don’t have it on you, you are driving illegally, but driving on a suspended or revoked license is treated differently in the eyes of the law. By suspending or revoking your driving privileges, the law is punishing you for a motor vehicle crime.
Driving when your license is suspended or revoked is a much more serious misdemeanor than driving without a license, which is a minor infraction. If you make this error, you risk facing jail time, fines, and a longer suspension or revocation of your license.
If you’ve been charged with driving with an expired license and can show that you made the error in good faith, you may be able to get the punishment reduced, but you can’t use this as a defense if you’re caught driving with a suspended or revoked license. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license before getting behind the wheel.
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Can I Recover Damages if My License Is Expired in a Car Wreck Claim?
Negligence, in the context of car accidents, is defined as a lack of sufficient care and caution behind the wheel. A driver’s negligence, not their lack of a license, will determine fault in an accident. Your car accident has nothing to do with not having a valid license.
If you weren’t at fault, the other driver’s insurance will cover your damages. The negligent party is responsible for your financial damages even if your license has expired. In the event of an auto accident, you can sue for medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and other losses.
What Happens if You Get a Ticket for Driving without a License When an Officer Responds to Your Car Wreck?
The police officer may come to your accident scene, but if they discover you were driving without a license, they will issue you a ticket for that. The common remedy is to get a license. Unless a person’s driving privileges had already been suspended or revoked, they take the driver’s test and earn a driver’s license.
At the time of their traffic court appearance, they bring the newly issued license to the court. They produce a license and present it to the prosecutor. In most cases, he or she will advocate to the court for a suspension of the punishment.
If the prosecutor recommends a sentence suspension, the court will nearly invariably grant such a request. You are now a legal, licensed driver and while the matter is an inconvenience, it doesn’t result in any further punishment.
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Could My Car Insurance Be Canceled if I’m in a Car Accident with an Expired License?
It is dependent upon the terms of your car insurance. Having a license that has expired is not always grounds for the cancellation of an insurance policy. In some cases, insurance may continue to apply even if a driver’s license has expired for a short time if the insurance premium has already been paid.
If you are found driving with a revoked, suspended, or expired license, your insurance provider may be able to cancel your coverage under the provisions of your policy. Asking a lawyer specializing in automobile accidents to clarify your policy’s stance on drivers with suspended licenses is a good first step.
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In Arizona, What Are the Consequences of Driving without a License?
In Arizona, operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license is a violation of ARS 28-3151. Operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license is illegal. Breaking this law is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to four months in jail.
Unless exempt under ARS §28-3151, no person shall operate a motor vehicle or vehicle combination on a highway without a driver’s license and proper endorsement as specified in this chapter.
Penalties in Arizona for Driving on a Driver’s License that Has Expired
Even though it may not render you legally responsible for a car accident or prevent you from receiving compensation, driving with an expired license might still result in additional consequences. The following penalties may be imposed on you if you are caught driving with an expired license or are involved in an auto accident:
- Traffic ticket
- Fines up to $750
- A class 2 misdemeanor
- Probation up to two years
- Jail time
The consequences will vary based on your circumstances, but a lawyer may be able to help. A car accident lawyer can work to have the ticket thrown out or get a reduction in your penalties. To avoid these problems, it’s important to be proactive and schedule an appointment with the DMV to renew it before it expires.
License renewals can sometimes be completed online, saving you a trip to the DMV. Do not drive a motor vehicle until the suspension period has passed if you have a suspended or revoked driver’s license as a result of a moving violation or crime.
Legal Challenges in Your Car Accident Case Can Be Overcome with Our Help
Immediately following an automobile accident, you can consult with a lawyer at Zanes Law. Any claim involving a car crash will have its own particular challenges and subtleties when it comes to handling tickets and other minor infractions.
If you need legal assistance because your license has expired or you have other concerns about your car crash, you can rely on our lawyers to provide the most effective representation possible.