In Arizona you can receive a citation from criminal or civil speeding depending on how fast the officer alleges you were going over the speed limit. A criminal or civil traffic ticket may have serious consequences to your driver’s license, insurance rate and criminal history. Before you admit guilt or responsibility to a speeding ticket, you should immediately talk to an attorney about your rights and your case.
Flagstaff Criminal Lawyers Discuss Speeding Tickets
While, it is untrue that police, like the Flagstaff Police Department, mandates officers to stop a particular number of traffic offenders. It is true, the Flagstaff Police Department and City of Flagstaff, have incentives to cite a high number of traffic offenders for revenue purposes. In fiscal year 2010 the City of Flagstaff estimated that the Flagstaff Municipal Court would collect $3,100,000 in fines and fees.* Although, this estimate includes fines and fees for criminal offenses, it is staggering to think the amount of revenue the City of Flagstaff collects from speeding and traffic related offenses. Thus, the City of Flagstaff Police Department and City Attorney’s Office will not cut you a “deal” on your case because you were “only going 5 over” because they have no incentive to do otherwise.
If you are cited for a traffic offense you may be eligible for defensive driving/traffic school if you meet certain requirements. Usually, Municipal Court will only allow civil traffic offenders to attend traffic school if they have not attended within the past 24 months. If you are allowed to complete traffic school you have 7 days prior to your date to complete the class and show proof. If you cannot take traffic school for your offense your only option is to either admit responsibility and pay a civil penalty or deny responsibility and request a hearing.
If you admit responsibility, you will be required to pay the fine or be placed on a payment plan. Once you admit responsibility, the court will report the traffic ticket to MVD who will asses points against your driver’s license. If you deny responsibility and request a hearing, you will have a civil traffic trial in front of a judge. Usually, there is no prosecutor and the officer who issued you the ticked will testify and give evidence against you and you may also present evidence on your behalf. The judge will either find you responsible or not responsible. If found responsible by the judge you will be assessed a fine and the court will notify MVD of the offense.
If you were cited for a criminal traffic violation, you can either plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty the court can impose:
- Suspension/restriction of your driving privileges;
- Community service;
- Court-ordered education classes; and
- Notify MVD of your conviction, resulting in points on your driving record.
If you plead not guilty, the court will set a pretrial conference where you meet the prosecutor and a plea may be offered or the case will be set for trial. At trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. The prosecutor will usually prove that you violated the traffic statute by calling the officer who issued the ticket as a witness. Once the prosecutor “rests”, you will be afforded the opportunity to present evidence in your defense. Afterwards, the judge will weigh the evidence and find you either guilty or not guilty.
As you can tell, resolving a traffic ticket is a difficult matter and can have serious implications on your rights. Before you admit responsibility or guilt you need to talk to a lawyer. If you, a friend or a loved one has been cited for a criminal or civil traffic violation contact the Law Office of Gonzales and Poirier at 928-774-5400 or visit our office in Flagstaff or Cottonwood. We will review your case because we offer free case consultations.
Your criminal or civil traffic case is unique and this article is not a substitute to consulting and discussing your case with an attorney. If you have further questions contact us at 928-774-5400 or visit our website here.