Arizona Reckless Driving Laws

The state of Arizona defines both reckless driving and aggressive driving as major driving offenses. Either violation can result in automatic license suspension, although suspension is rare if you address the violation appropriately.

Definition of Reckless Driving in Arizona

The state of Arizona categorizes reckless driving as a criminal offense, with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division referring to the discretion of the courts in determining suspension periods, if applicable. The specific definition of reckless driving in Arizona includes operation of a vehicle recklessly with no regard for the safety of others, including drivers, passengers or pedestrians. A second reckless driving conviction within a period of 24 months increases your charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor with sentencing mandates.

Alongside reckless driving laws, Arizona also employs aggressive driving laws as well. In short, aggressive driving is defined as acts of excessive speed when combined with one or more other acts, including illegal lane changes, tailgating, failure to yield, illegal passing or ignoring of traffic signals.

Reckless Driving Penalties in Arizona



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving

Class 2 misdemeanor

Incarceration of no more than 4 months, although almost always a suspended sentence


License suspension of no more than 90 days, fines and mandatory completion of Traffic Survival School (TSS)

Aggressive driving




Possible license suspension of 30 days, mandatory attendance at Traffic Survival School (TSS), fines and court costs

Impact on Your Driver's License

As noted above, reckless driving or aggressive driving offenses can result in automatic license suspension for even a first offense. However, in practice, drivers can address the courts during a hearing and request completion of Defensive Driving School (DDS) in lieu of suspension. Points-based suspensions are unlikely, unless you have had multiple minor traffic violations or a single major one in the previous 5 years.

Options for Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in Arizona

Addressing a reckless driving or aggressive driving charge means preparing before you attend a court hearing. Preparation may involve the use of legal counsel. You should keep in mind you could be incarcerated for a significant period of time. Although this rarely does occur, it should indicate the relatively serious nature of these charges. At the same time, Arizona may remove reckless or aggressive driving convictions from your record upon completion of a driving education program. However, obtaining such a favorable deal will require the use of legal counsel.

When to Get a Lawyer for Reckless Driving in Arizona

Even for a first offense of reckless driving not involving an accident, legal counsel is advisable, at least for the initial court hearing. In any instance where a reckless driving citation is issued after an accident causing property damage or bodily injury, legal counsel should be involved immediately because convictions will carry over as evidence of liability for damages in any ensuing or related civil cases. Likewise, for any driver with the potential of losing a license due to conviction of reckless driving, involvement of a lawyer may help the defendant retain a driver's license.

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