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How Often Can You Take Defensive Driving in Arizona?

Posted on July 25, 2022 in

Defensive driving is a program in Arizona that consists of a series of traffic safety courses. If eligible, you can attend defensive driving school to avoid some of the penalties associated with a traffic ticket or moving violation, such as a speeding ticket. Defensive driving can have benefits such as preventing points from being added to your driver’s license. You can only take a defensive driving class once per year, however, and only for one eligible citation at a time.

What Qualifies You for a Defensive Driving Diversion Program in Arizona?

To qualify for defensive driving, you must not have attended a defensive driving class for a traffic citation issued within the past 12 months. The courts will look at the date of your current violation, not the date that you last attended a defensive driving class, to determine your eligibility. You can only take this class once every year. There is not a maximum number of times that you can take defensive driving in your lifetime, however. 

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • The violation must be on Arizona’s list of eligible citations.
  • The citation must not involve a serious injury or fatal car accident.
  • The course must be completed no later than seven days prior to your court date.

If you have a commercial driver’s license, you can still qualify for defensive driving if you were driving a vehicle requiring a class D or class M license at the time of the infraction and the vehicle was not being used for commercial purposes. You must also meet all of the above-listed requirements for noncommercial drivers. For a serious collision, speak to an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney.

What to Expect at Defensive Driving School

A defensive driving class is operated through a court-certified commercial school. It is an education and diversion program that teaches drivers safe driving skills and techniques. You can take a defensive driving program online or in person; however, you may be ordered by a judge to attend a classroom course in person in some cases. The class is a minimum of four hours long and a maximum of four and a half hours. You must pay for the course and any surcharges yourself. Once you have completed the course, the school will notify the courts.

What Are Eligible Citations for Defensive Driving School?

If you’re interested in taking defensive driving to reduce the penalties that you face for a ticket or driving infraction in Arizona, check to see if your violation is on the list of eligible citations. It is a long list that includes most common moving violations. It includes failing to obey traffic control devices, speeding, making illegal turns at intersections, passing unsafely, and failing to pull over for an emergency vehicle. If a citation has a “CM” code next to it, it means the driver must obtain the express permission of a judge to be eligible for the defensive driving class.

What Are the Benefits of Taking Defensive Driving in Arizona?

If you get pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Arizona and receive a traffic ticket or moving violation, you have options. You may be able to fight the ticket during a court hearing. You may also qualify to take a defensive driving class to reduce the consequences that you face. While attending a driving course will not eliminate the fine associated with your infraction, it will have the following other benefits:

  • No points will be assessed to your motor vehicle record.
  • Your car insurance rates and premiums will not increase.
  • You will be a safer driver with improved traffic knowledge.

The point assessment system in Arizona can suspend your driver’s license for up to 12 months if you accumulate 8 or more points within 12 months. Points are assessed in varying amounts based on the severity of the infraction. A DUI (driving under the influence) crime, for example, is worth 8 points, while speeding is worth 3 points. Taking a defensive driving course can help you avoid accumulating too many points within 12 months. If you wish to learn more about this option in Arizona, visit the website