What Is Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage in Arizona?
Let’s face it, Aggressive driving can occur to the best of us. It can occur when a driver allows their emotions (typically anger) to affect their driving. Driving aggressively dramatically increases the odds of a traffic accident, according to aggressive driving accident statistics. But in the end, that one off outburst can lead to a criminal charge in Arizona, called Aggressive Driving.
What Is Aggressive Driving in Arizona?
Aggressive driving is a misdemeanor criminal traffic offense. Under ARS 28-695, the legal definition of aggressive driving is driving in a manner that poses an immediate hazard to another person or vehicle, while speeding and committing at least two of the following infractions:
- Filing to stop and a stoplight or stop sign, or otherwise failing to obey a traffic sign or signal;
- Passing another vehicle on the right side by driving off the pavement;
- Executing an unsafe lane change
- Tailgating (following too closely) or
- Failing to yield the right of way.
Of course, any one of these infractions can result in an ordinary traffic ticket on their own.
Examples of Aggressive Driving
Some common examples of traffic offenses that might result in an aggressive driving charge:
- Cutting off other drivers, especially two-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles;
- Weaving in and out of traffic;
- Inappropriate use of high beams;
- Inappropriate flashing of headlights;
- Deliberately blocking other cars from passing you or from changing lanes;
- Driving on the shoulder of the road without a good reason;
- Yelling threats or insults, or giving another driver the “finger”;
- Speeding through school zones or road construction sites;
- Excessive use of your car horn;
- Consistently disregarding traffic lights and controls;
- Speeding well beyond the speed limit.
- Passing a vehicle on a shoulder or median.
The previous is only a partial list of possible aggressive driving infractions.
Arizona's Aggressive Driving Law
The key to distinguishing aggressive driving from more minor traffic offenses is the concept of what constitutes an “immediate hazard.” Meaning can the officer who issued you a citation provide enough evidence that your driving posed an “immediate hazard” to others, even if it wouldn’t otherwise constitute an offense.
Suppose, for example, that you are driving exactly the speed limit during an ice storm. This could be characterized as “aggressive driving” even though you are not violating the speed limit, because it posed an immediate danger to others.
What Does “Excessive Speed” Mean under Arizona’s Aggressive Driving Statute?
“Excessive speed” can mean::
- Driving over 35 mph at a school crossing;
- Driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit in a residential area or business district; or
- Driving over 85 mph on any public road;
It’s not all about your specific speed, either. Arizona might penalize you for aggressive driving for shaving in your rear view mirror while driving, or for driving 55 mph backward on the freeway. Both of these are considered excessive speed under the conditions.
Aggressive Driving Penalties in Arizona
Although Aggressive Driving is a misdemeanor and not a felony in Arizona, in most cases it is still wise to seek an experienced Aggressive Driving Defense Attorney to help you navigate the process. The fact is you’ll be going up against an assigned prosecuting attorney in these cases so it’s wise to have a criminal defense attorney on your side.
The consequences of aggressive driving can be serious, including possibly facing a license suspension because of the charge.
Aggressive Driving Consequences can up up to:
- Six months in jail;
- Three years of probation;
- $2,500 in fines; and
- Eight points off your driver’s license might be enough for a suspension or mandatory traffic survival school.
The prosecutor can also combine aggressive driving with other offenses such as DUI.
Aggressive driving is a serious offense that can result in criminal penalties. If you are facing an Aggressive Driving charge anywhere in Arizona, Call or Text us at the Law Office of Brandon White at 602-237-6772 or contact us online to schedule a consultation where we can discuss your options, and more importantly get your questions answered.