A person who is ticketed for a civil traffic moving violation may attend a defensive driving school. The benefits of going to “driving school” are discussed below.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for driving school, a person must have received a civil traffic moving violation, and not have been involved in an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury. A person is eligible to attend driving school one time every 24 months.
The court may permit a person criminally charged with violation of the excessive speed statute to attend driving school. This is the only exception to the rule that eligibility is limited to civil traffic moving violations. The holder of a commercial driver license or a driver of a commercial motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver license is not eligible for the defensive driving diversion program.
If a person commits a criminal traffic violation (other than as noted in the preceding paragraph) or is involved in an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury, the court may require the person to attend driving school in addition to another sentence imposed for the traffic violation.
A person who is eligible to attend driving school or who has been ordered to attend by the court, must attend a supreme court certified defensive driving school within the time limit set by the court.
A person who elects to attend a driving school must pay a “court diversion fee” set by the presiding judge of each court, and a $45 surcharge. Payment of the court diversion fee and surcharge is in lieu of payment of a penalty or fine and surcharge for a traffic violation.
In addition to the court diversion fee and surcharge, a person must pay the fee to attend the driving school, and a fee of $15 for deposit in the Defensive Driving School Fund administered by the Arizona Supreme Court. All of the fees will be collected by the driving school.
The Benefits of Driving School
The court will, upon successful completion of the course, dismiss the traffic citation for which the person attended the school. In addition, the Department of Transportation will not include a record of the traffic citation on the person’s driving record. However, dismissal of a traffic citation for attending traffic school does not prohibit the use of evidence pertaining to the citation in a civil or criminal proceeding.
By electing to attend defensive driving school, a person may save money on car insurance, will avoid unnecessary points on his driving record, and may even become a better driver. Not a bad deal!
The above article is an excerpt from Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, 2nd Edition (Fenestra Books, 2012), by Donald A. Loose, republished with the author’s permission.
Disclaimer: Laws change constantly. Specific legal advice should be obtained regarding any legal matter. The information contained on this website does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created.
Don likes to target shoot, scuba dive, and pilot airplanes. Most recently, he has been working on his golf handicap. Don enjoys writing, reading, and spending time with his wife, twin sons, and golden retriever, Lucy.