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Can Previous Traffic Violations Affect a New DUI Charge

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DUI charges in Arizona can result in harsh penalties when people are convicted, depending on their blood alcohol concentrations at the time of their arrests and their driving records. Arizona has a seven-year lookback period for DUIs, which means that the state will charge you with a second-offense DUI if you have a prior DUI conviction within the last seven years.

Some people who are charged with DUIs might wonder how other types of traffic violations might affect their DUI penalties.

Having previous traffic convictions unrelated to DUIs might still affect the points assessment from the Arizona Department of Transportation and result in a longer period of suspension, depending on the total points accumulated during the previous 12 months or 36 months.

The biggest takeaway from this article is to keep in mind how your current driving record reflects the penalties if you are ever charged with a new DUI. For example, if you have had 2 major violations within the last 7 years such as DUI, Aggressive Driving, or Reckless driving, your punishment will include a loss of your driving license for 1 year.  However, it may be possible to get a restricted license.

Are you charged with a DUI and have previous traffic violations?
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Can Previous Traffic Violations Affect a New DUI Charge?

Arizona Points Assessment

When people are found guilty of moving violations in Arizona, points will be assessed against their driver’s licenses. The number of points that will be assessed for civil and criminal traffic offenses includes the following:

    • DUI (alcohol or drugs) – 8 points
    • Extreme DUI (BAC 15% or higher) – 8 points
    • Aggravated DUI – 8 points
    • Reckless driving – 8 points
    • Aggressive driving – 8 points
    • Hit-and-run accident – 6 points
    • Failing to stop at a stop sign or stop light or failing to yield the right-of-way resulting in death – 6 points
    • Failing to stop at a stoplight or stop sign, or failing to yield the right-of-way, causing serious injury – 4 points
    • Speeding (civil or criminal) – 3 points
    • Parking in or driving over a gore area – 3 points
    • All other moving violations – 2 points

Effect of Accumulating too Many Points

Accumulating too many points within 12 or 36 months can result in an additional suspension of your license or mandatory attendance at a traffic survival school. It only takes a single eight-point offense to result in a suspension of your driving privileges or an order to attend traffic survival school.

For the points system with the ADOT, the two relevant time frames are the last 12 or 36 months. If you accumulate from eight to 12 points in the most recent 12 months, the state will either order you to attend traffic survival school or suspend your license for 90 days.

If you are eligible for traffic survival school and have not attended it in the last two years, a license suspension can be avoided if you are ordered to attend traffic survival school and complete it. If you are not eligible for traffic survival school, your license will be suspended for 90 days.

If you accumulate from 13 to 17 points in the most recent 12 months, your driving privileges will be suspended for 90 days. If you accumulate from 18 to 23 points in 12 months, your driver’s license will likely be suspended for six months.

The second relevant time frame is within the past 36 months. If you accumulate 24 or more points in the past 36 months, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.

It is important to note that the state calculates points during a specific period by the date of the violation instead of the date of the entry of judgement of guilt or responsibility.

When Will Points Be Assessed?

Points will only be assessed once you have been found guilty or responsible for a moving violation. A finding that you have committed a civil traffic violation is referred to as being responsible, and a finding that you have committed a criminal traffic violation is referred to as guilty.

Once you have been found guilty or responsible for a traffic violation, the court will send the judgment to the state, which normally occurs within 24 hours. The violation will then be added to your driving record.

While the violation and its points will be added to your driving record when the state receives notice of it, the date that will be listed on your driving record will be the violation date. You will need to keep track of the points assessed against your license for different types of violations.

Do Points on My Driving Record Ever Expire?

Many people wonder whether points drop off of their driving records or expire. Before April 2020, points did not appear on a driver’s motor vehicle record, but they now do.

Traffic violations appear on a driver’s MVR indefinitely. However, the relevant time periods for points that have been assessed are the most recent 12 or 36 months.

After 12 months have passed, the impact of points will decline. When violations are older than 36 months, the points do not have an impact, but the violations will still be listed on the MVR.

You can request your 39-month motor vehicle record on the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department’s website here to check how many points you have accumulated on your license in the past 12 or 36 months. A 39-month MVR should include everything that might affect your driver’s license status.

Impact of Prior Traffic Violations on a First or Second DUI Offense

Under ARS 28-1381, prosecutors can only plead past DUI, extreme DUI, or aggravated DUI convictions that have occurred in the past seven years. The statute does not provide anything for judges to consider about other types of traffic offenses within the past seven years.

Instead, if you are convicted of a first time DUI, you will face the same penalties as others who are also convicted of first-offense regular DUI.

These penalties include the following:

  • Minimum of 10 days in jail, but nine days can be suspended with the completion of an alcohol assessment and treatment
  • Possible probation of up to three years
  • $250+ fine
  • Additional assessments of $1,000
  • At least 90 days driver’s license suspension up to 360 days
  • The court can order community service hours

If you are convicted of a second DUI conviction within seven years with one prior allegeable DUI offense, you will face the following penalties:

  • From 30 to 90 days in jail
  • 12-month license revocation
  • 30 hours of community service
  • $500+ fine
  • Additional assessments of $2,500
  • Ignition interlock device for at least 12 months
  • Alcohol assessment and treatment

While prior traffic violations within 12 to 36 months will affect the total points accumulated on your driver’s license, they are not considered to be allegeable offenses and will not affect the DUI penalties.

How Prior Traffic Violations Can Add to Points Total

How your past traffic offenses might combine with your DUI to affect your total points and suspension period will depend on what your previous traffic violations were and when they occurred in relation to the date of your DUI offense.

For example, if you have two speeding tickets within the past 12 months followed by a DUI, you will accumulate a total of 14 points on your license within a 12-month period. This is because speeding is a 3-point offense, and a DUI is an eight-point offense.

Accumulating from 13 to 17 points in the most recent 12 months results in a 90-day suspension of your license.

If you have another eight-point violation within the past 12 months, such as reckless driving, you will receive another eight points for the DUI offense. This would mean that you would have a total accumulation of 16 points on your driver’s license and would receive an automatic 90-day suspension of your privileges for points accumulation.

You could also be assessed a 90-day suspension for a first DUI conviction as well as the reckless driving conviction since both are eight-point offenses.

If you have a previous reckless driving conviction within the past 12 months and are subsequently convicted of a second DUI offense, you would still accumulate 16 points on your license within 12 months, which would result in a 90-day suspension based on points accumulation.

However, you would also face a 12-month revocation of your license for the second DUI conviction, and the suspension and revocation periods would be consecutive to each other.

Figuring out how accumulated points might affect your license when you are facing a DUI charge can be tricky. If you fight your DUI charge and are successful, the DUI should not add to your total accumulated points.

The attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta can review your Motor Vehicle Record and the evidence in your current DUI case to explain what might happen to your license and the other penalties you might face if you are convicted of a DUI. Call us today at (602) 825-2500.

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