Civil Traffic Offenses
Civil traffic violations include, but are not limited to:
- failure to provide proof of registration
- no valid driver’s license
- no insurance
- failure to obey a traffic control device
- If you received a parking violation, you may pay the fine online or at the court.
- If your vehicle was towed, contact the Police Department
What to do when you receive a civil traffic ticket
When you receive a citation that contains a civil traffic offense only, you have several options:
Persons found responsible, or entering a plea of responsible, will be ordered by the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to attend and successfully complete Traffic Survival School (TSS). If you are eligible for defensive driving school and complete the class, the violation will be dismissed and you will not be subject to the requirement to attend a TSS class by the MVD.
If a charge on your complaint is marked as civil traffic, and you are eligible to attend a class, that charge will be dismissed upon completion. No points will be placed on your driving record. You will pay a registration fee to attend. Learn more about the Defensive Driving Program
You may request a Hearing on the charges. The hearing date will be set approximately 30 days from the date of request. You may bring witnesses and present your case before a judge. On the charges for which a hearing is requested, you give up the option of attending a defensive driving class.
An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. On appeal, no new evidence is introduced. The higher court is limited to considering whether the lower court erred on a question of law or gave a decision plainly contrary to the evidence presented during trial.
How do I file an appeal?
If you decide to appeal a decision made against you for a criminal violation, or a citation with both criminal and civil traffic violations, you must file a NOTICE OF APPEAL with the Surprise City Court within 14 calendar days from date of judgment. If you fail to file an appeal before this time period expires, you will lose your right to appeal.
What costs are involved?
There is a $34 fee for the Superior Court record, and $51 administrative fee for the Surprise City Court. Total due is $85. This fee covers the cost of making a CD of the proceedings and must be paid the same day that the notice of appeal is filed. If more than one CD is required (if the hearing is longer than 60 minutes), you will be required to obtain the services of a court reporter to prepare a written transcript. You will be charged for the preparation of the transcript. In the event that you must hire a court reporter, you may set up a payment arrangement with the court reporter directly.
An appeal bond may not be required to stay the conviction and sentence on a criminal case. This means that during the appeal process, the conviction and sentence that was entered against you is placed on hold until the Superior Court makes a decision on the case.
Can I have an attorney represent me for my appeal?
You may have an attorney represent you during the appeal process. You may also proceed proper (acting as your own attorney).
What if I cannot afford the costs of an appeal?
If you cannot afford the costs associated with the appeal process, you may ask the Court to consider you indigent. In order to attain this status, you must provide a sworn financial statement for the Surprise City Court to rule on.
What is a memorandum and when does it need to be filed?
Upon receipt of your notice of appeal and your written memorandum, the Surprise City Court will forward a complete copy of your case to you and the state.
A memorandum is a written statement that you send to the Surprise City Court setting forth the legal issues and legal reasons why you are appealing the judgment of the Surprise City Court.
Once the Surprise City Court has received both the appellate memorandum (from the party filing the appeal) and appellee memorandum (from the opposing party), the case will be forwarded to the Maricopa County Superior Court. Failure to pay any costs or fees, or to respond to any notices from the City Court or Superior Court may result in your appeal being dismissed. You should read and respond to all notices received from either court.
Juvenile Civil Traffic Offenders
A juvenile is considered to be any individual who is under the age of 18 years. All juvenile civil traffic violations are treated in the same manner with the same penalties as an adult civil traffic violation. A parent or legal guardian must be present at all court appearances.
If a juvenile fails to appear, or fails to comply with any court order, the Court will direct the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department to suspend the juvenile's driver's license.
Juvenile Criminal Offenses are filed by the Police Department in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court.
Proof of Corrections for Mechanical, Registration, License, and Insurance Violations
If you were cited with a charge and the accompanying fine can be reduced, suspended, or dismissed with proper proof of correction, it will be necessary for you to mail or bring in the proof. Contact the Court for assistance with determining the amount of the reduced fine.
Drivers License Violations
If the charge is for failure to provide or carry a valid driver's license, the fine can be suspended by providing a valid driver's license.
Proof of correction of an equipment or mechanical violation may reduce the fine if receipts of repair or purchase are provided to the court.
If you provide proof to the Court showing that the vehicle involved was insured on the date and time the complaint was issued, the charge will be dismissed.
If you are found in violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135(A), (B) or (C), the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) will administratively suspend your driving privileges and the registration of the vehicle being driven at the time of the violation. The monetary penalties associated with violations of the above referenced statute remain the same and are:
- $500 + surcharges and court fees
- $750+ surcharges and court fees
- $1000 + surcharges and court fees
The statute also allows the court to reduce or waive the penalty imposed for a violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 B &C if the person provides proof of both the following items:
- The defendant (driver) has not been found responsible of a violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 within the past 24 months OR has not had more than one violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 within the past 36 months as evidenced by the person's driving record.
- The defendant has purchased a six month policy of insurance that meets the requirements of A.R.S. § 28-4009.
The statute allows the court to:
- Waive the monetary penalty
- Waive only the driver’s license suspension
- Waive only the registration suspension
- Waive both the driver’s license suspension and registration suspension
- Impose a lower monetary penalty, or any combination of the items listed here
Upon receipt of the record of judgment, MVD is responsible for entering a suspension of the defendant’s driver license and/or registration/plates in their system. In order to ensure that the defendant is in compliance with the suspension and to receive timely notification from MVD, the defendant must ensure that MVD has their most current address.
The suspension of the defendant’s driver license/registration/plates is not effective until MVD mails the Corrective Action Notice to the address of record. Service of notice is considered complete upon the mailing of the Corrective Action Notice. The Corrective Action Notice will provide information of the effective date for the suspension and reinstatement requirements (e.g., fees, SR22, proof of insurance, etc).
Defendants may be eligible for a MVD issued restricted license if they obtain a SR22, proof of insurance and they comply with the additional criteria established by the MVD.
To determine eligibility and for any other questions regarding suspension, defendants should contact MVD at:
Phoenix: (602) 255-0072
Tucson: (520) 629-9808
TTD Systems Only: Phoenix (602) 712-3222 | Elsewhere in Arizona 1-800-251-5866
Children Are Priceless Passengers (CAPP) Program
The CAPP program is a partnership between Sun Health Del E. Webb Hospital, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, police departments, and municipal/justice courts designed to educate families about:
- Injury prevention
- Crash dynamics
- Types of restraints for children
- Installation of child safety seats
Class is taught by certified child passenger safety technicians. The classes are open to the public and cited drivers with the opportunity to receive a child safety seat upon completion of class. Proof of successful completion of the CAPP program will result in suspension of any fines resulting from a citation for not using a child safety seat. Also refer to the bond schedule for more information.
For more information about CAPP including class locations and schedules visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website or call 602-255-3216.
A.R.S. 28-907A-CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT - To reduce the fine to $0, please mail a purchase receipt for a child passenger restraint system after date and time citation was issued or complete a Children Are Priceless Passengers class and charge shall be dismissed upon proof of completion. For more information about CAPP, visit the Traffic Court page.
A.R.S. 28-2153A - NO PROOF OF REGISTRATION - To reduce the fine to $140, mail or fax proof of current AZ registration. Send check/money order before your court date unless other arrangements have been made.
A.R.S. 28-3169A - NO DRIVER LICENSE IN POSSESSION - Mail or present valid proof of current driver license to have the fine reduced to $0.