What are Arizona Public Traffic Records?
An Arizona traffic record is a document containing a summary of an individual's driving history. This information comprises criminal and civil traffic offenses, tickets, and traffic violation convictions. Traffic records are helpful for monitoring road users and creating policies for improving road safety.
In Arizona, the Motor Vehicle Department of the Department of Transportation (DOT) creates and manages all traffic and motor vehicle records. The MVD works with the Department of Public Safety and the state's courts to fulfill these obligations. It maintains and provides four types of traffic records; 3-year uncertified records, 3-year certified records, and 5-year certified and uncertified records.
Are Traffic Records Public in Arizona?
Yes, Arizona traffic records are accessible to members of the public. However, according to the provisions outlined in Title 39 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, requestors must present a government-issued ID before their request is processed.
Notwithstanding, the state does not permit public access to drivers' personal information according to the Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 28, Chapter 2, Article 5. The United States Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) also restricts the dissemination of personal information in traffic records. However, this information may be made available to state courts or law enforcement, particularly if it is critical to their function. Per state law, individuals or entities acting on behalf of a government agency are also eligible to view restricted information.
Interested and eligible requestors are required to obtain approval from the record owner or the courts before applying to the DOT to view their personal information.
What Do Arizona Traffic Records Contain?
Arizona traffic records contain the following information:
- The type of license.
- DUI violations.
- Demerit points for traffic infractions.
- License points
- DOT actions- suspensions, revocations, and reinstatements
- Convictions- penalties, fines, restrictions
- Accident reports
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in Arizona?
Yes. Arizona traffic records also include citations for traffic violations. These violations are either criminal or civil offenses. Civil offenses are minor infractions that occur while the vehicle is in motion. They include speeding, tailgating (following too closely), failing to obey a traffic signal, failing to yield the right of way, and illegal parking.
Although civil infractions are recorded against the driver or offender, the offender may opt to attend a defensive driving program to reduce the citation points or to have the ticket dismissed. If the offender takes the defensive driving course, the agency may not record the ticket or citation.
However, when a driver commits a criminal offense, a defensive driving course may not be sufficient to justify dismissing the citation. Criminal tickets (misdemeanors and felonies) are more serious. Some examples include reckless driving, hit, and run accidents, and DUI.
Citations can negatively impact an individual's driving record. Arizona operates a point system that helps the state agency track habitual offenders and penalties such as license suspension, revocation, and cancellation. The severity of the offense determines the number of points awarded. For example: When a driver commits a DUI offense, their traffic record incurs 8 points. The penalty for an 8-point offense may include immediate license suspension, a monetary fine, and jail term. When a driver commits an extreme DUI or Hit and run, the agency immediately revokes the driver's license.
Types of Traffic Citations in Arizona
There are two types of traffic citations in Arizona; they are, civil traffic and criminal traffic tickets.
Civil Traffic Tickets
Arizona law enforcement officials issue civil traffic tickets when road users violate civil traffic laws. Attached to the ticket is a form containing the list of the laws. When the officer halts a motorist, the officer checks the form to determine the violator's offense before issuing the ticket. Some examples of civil traffic offenses include driving without using a seatbelt, speeding, driving with an expired license plate, disobeying a traffic sign, illegal parking, making illegal turns, basic speeding violations, and illegal street crossing.
Civil tickets can also be issued following moving and non-moving violations. It is worth noting that the state issues civil traffic tickets to both motorists and pedestrians. However, the penalties are usually less harsh when compared with the tickets for criminal offenses. Motorists can take the defensive driving course to reduce their penalties or dismiss the citation.
Criminal Traffic Tickets
When offenders are issued a criminal traffic ticket, they are likely to be incarcerated or slammed with hefty fines. Criminal traffic tickets are issued following a misdemeanor or felony. Hence, the state penalizes criminal traffic citations more severely than civil offenses. Examples of criminal traffic citations include: Hit and run, careless driving, trying to evade law enforcement, vehicular manslaughter, driving without a valid license, DUI, Driving with a suspended or revoked license. Criminal traffic citations will require the offender to appear in court in most cases.
Arizona Traffic Citation Lookup
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) issues citations for various offenses according to the provisions of Arizona state statutes. However, the justice courts preside over all criminal and civil traffic offenses. Hence, interested persons may look up Arizona traffic citations by querying the justice court in the county where the ticket was issued. The requester may also visit the court office in person or contact the office via mail or telephone. Interested persons may check the e-directory on the DPS website to the contact details of the various justice courts.
How to Lookup my Arizona Traffic Records
The Arizona Department of Transport maintains the state's traffic records and disseminates these records to interested persons. The agency provides three methods for searching Arizona traffic records, but the methods employed for finding a record will depend on the type of traffic record. There are three types of traffic records in Arizona, and the search methods available are the online search option, mail, or in-person method.
Online search - Only 3-year uncertified traffic records are accessible online. Interested persons may visit the website of the state Motor Vehicle Division and sign in by supplying their personal information to access the records. A payment of $2 is required before the requester can access the record. First-time users will be required to create an account.
Mail - Persons seeking the 39-month certification, 5-year uncertified, and 5-year certified records may apply via mail. The requester will need to download and complete a request form (Form 46-4416). A fee of $3 is also required to obtain a certified three-year driving record. To get a certified five-year driving record, the requester will be required to pay $5 before sending the form via mail to the address on the form or at any branch of the MVD or any authorized third-party office.
In-person search - After downloading and filling the form, the requesting party may visit the AZ MVD office closest to them. Payment can be in cash or money order. Requestors may wait over the counter to receive the traffic record. However, the requester will need to sign the form before an official of the division before the form is accepted.
Arizona Traffic Violations
There are several different traffic violations in Arizona. These include speeding, running a red light, and driving under the influence (DUI). Each of these violations comes with its own set of consequences, ranging from a simple fine to jail time.
For example, speeding in Arizona is generally punishable by a fine of up to $250. However, if the speed limit was exceeded by more than 20 miles per hour, the fine can be $750. Anyone caught speeding in a school zone or construction zone will face increased penalties.
Running a red light is also a serious traffic violation in Arizona. The penalty for this infraction is typically a fine of $250, but it can be as high as $1,000 if the red light was ran at an intersection with a stop sign or yield sign. Additionally, anyone who is caught running a red light while driving under the influence (DUI) will face enhanced penalties.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very serious traffic violation in Arizona. The penalties for this offense can include jail time, fines, and the suspension of one's driver's license. In some cases, a DUI can even be classified as a felony offense. If you are convicted of DUI in Arizona, you will be required to complete an alcohol education and treatment program. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Arizona has several traffic violations that can result in severe consequences. If convicted of a traffic violation, the offender may face fines, jail time, and the suspension of their driver's license.
Arizona License Plate Lookup
License plates are an essential feature in Arizona traffic records and can be used to lookup vehicle and driver information within state limits. Depending on the requestor's needs, there are a few different ways to look up Arizona license plates.
One way is to use the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT). This database allows requestors to search by plate number or name and vehicle information. They can also search for historical plates and images. Another way to lookup license plates in Arizona is through private databases. These databases charge a fee for their services but may offer more detailed information than the AZDOT database. If the information is required for legal purposes, requestors may need to contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). The DPS can provide copies of traffic records, including license plate information.
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in Arizona
Arizona's Justice and municipal courts create and manage all traffic case records. Interested persons may utilize the online platform of the Arizona Judicial Branch to conduct a free search for traffic case records. Using this tool, individuals can access case records from at least 170 out of 184 courts in the state by searching with the name or case number on the record of interest.
Alternatively, requestors may visit the court office to conduct direct searches on cases tried in the country court. Usually, these records may be viewed at no cost, but the requester may be required to cover the cost of making copies.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Records in Arizona
In Arizona, most traffic violations stay on the public record of the offender for a maximum of 5 years before removal.
However, more severe traffic offenses (misdemeanors or felonies) stay on the record for 99 years. Violations like criminal speeding (a class 3 misdemeanor), DUI, extreme DUI, reckless driving, and automobile manslaughter stay on an offender's record for life.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in Arizona
Traffic records are public records and are not easily restricted from public access.
While the state restricts free access to personal details, its statutes do not allow express removal of records from public cites. Arizona state law does not favor the expungement or sealing of records. However, eligible persons may petition the court to set asideconvictions in their traffic records. A set-aside injunction helps a third party accessing the information know that the subject of the record owner has completed all the requirements for the case.
Alternatively, the record owner can obtain a new mailing address and telephone number to replace the existing contact details on the public records. Afterward, they can visit the DMV and make the changes. This will help prevent their personal information from showing up in search results.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in Arizona?
Yes, motoring offenses affect criminal records in Arizona.
Motoring or traffic offenses in Arizona are either civil or criminal violations. Civil offenses are minor infractions that attract fines and administrative sanctions. The state does not list these offenses in the criminal record, but it features offenses classified as misdemeanors or felonies in the record of the offenders.
The state records offenses such as criminal speeding, vehicular manslaughter, hit and run accidents against the offenders. Motoring offenses in criminal records have adverse effects. Along with increased insurance premiums and a possible loss of driving privileges, individuals with such records may also experience difficulty securing or maintaining employment, particularly if their role is driving-related.