I Received a Civil Traffic Ticket in Arizona. Do I Need an Attorney?

A civil traffic ticket is often best handled on your own.

I Received a Civil Traffic Ticket in Arizona. Do I Need an Attorney?

Traffic tickets in Arizona may be classified as either civil or criminal. You should be able to determine which ticket you were cited with by looking to see whether the “civil” or “criminal” box is checked off on your citation. Most traffic offenses are civil and include violations like running a red light or stop sign, changing lanes unlawfully, parking violations, and driving without valid auto insurance.

Upon receiving a civil traffic ticket, you have the option of paying a fine, taking Defensive Driving School, or requesting a hearing to provide evidence to support your case. Note that civil traffic tickets will have an upcoming court date listed. You must take one of these actions prior to your court date. If you do so, you will not have to appear at court on the listed court date.

Paying a Fine

The quickest way to handle your civil traffic ticket is to accept the charge and pay its associated fine. These are usually under $300. Paying prior to the ticket’s listed court date will immediately close the case, but your charge will be documented and you may have points assessed against your driving record. (Learn about the ADOT points system here.)

Defensive Driving School

Taking Defensive Driving classes allows you to dismiss your charge upon completion. Only certain violations are eligible for this option, found here. You are ineligible if you have completed another Defensive Driving class within the past year, and only one violation is able to be dismissed. This option must be completed seven days prior to your court date to be valid. Defensive Driving School is often the most cost-effective method to handle your civil ticket and has the added benefit of dismissing your charge.

Appearing at Your Hearing

This option allows you to go to court to try and fight your case before a judge, for which you can represent yourself. If the law enforcement officer does not show up to the hearing, your entire case may be dismissed. However, if you do not win your case, you will be held responsible, be required to pay up to $500 in fines, and incur points against your driving record. If you choose to hire a traffic attorney, you will also still be responsible for paying their fees as well.

The Verdict?

If you have been given a civil traffic ticket, it is almost always best to handle the citation on your own, particularly by means of Defensive Driving School. Even if you choose to plead responsible and pay the ticket fine, this still usually ends up being more cost-effective than hiring private representation.

However, if you have been charged with a criminal traffic ticket, be sure to give Rideout Law Group a call today, as these charges require a more aggressive and experienced approach to handle in order to protect your rights.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.



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