Understanding Felony Wrong Way Driving DUI Charges in Arizona Law

Feature Article

The Legal Definition of Wrong-Way Driving in Arizona

Imagine you are driving along the highway, minding your own business and following all the traffic regulations when suddenly, you see headlights coming straight at you. Your heart races and your adrenaline pumps as you swerve to avoid a catastrophic collision. This is the fear that drivers experience when they encounter a wrong-way driver on the road.

Wrong-way driving is a serious offense that endangers both the driver and others on the road. In Arizona, wrong-way driving is not only dangerous but also a criminal offense punishable by law. This article explores the legal definition of wrong-way driving in Arizona and the penalties associated with the offense.

What is Wrong-Way Driving under the Arizona Law?

According to A.R.S. §28-694, wrong-way driving is the act of operating a vehicle in opposition to the designated flow of traffic on controlled access highways. In simpler terms, it means driving in the opposite direction of traffic on highways that have separated roadways.

The statute defines "wrong way" as vehicular movement in a direction that contradicts the legal flow of traffic, explicitly excluding actions such as crossing the median. It also excludes situations where a vehicle ends up facing the wrong direction due to a collision, provided there was no intentional wrong-way driving involved.

Penalties for Wrong-Way Driving in Arizona

Individuals found guilty of wrong-way driving in Arizona face several repercussions, including severe criminal penalties and license revocation.

The penalty for violating A.R.S. §28-694 is a civil penalty of $500. Additionally, the court can also impose other penalties, including jail time or community service hours. Wrong-way driving charges can be either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case.

Furthermore, individuals convicted of wrong-way driving must attend traffic survival school to complete educational sessions aimed at reinforcing safe driving habits and enhancing overall road safety. The sessions involve driver training, highlighting the dangers of wrong-way driving, and the importance of adhering to traffic rules.

Defenses Against Wrong-Way Driving Charges

There are several defenses that drivers can use to fight wrong-way driving charges, such as:

1. Lack of Knowledge

If the driver genuinely believed that they were driving in the right direction and did not realize their mistake, it could constitute a viable defense."

2. Emergency Circumstances

If the driver went the wrong way to avoid an emergency, it may provide legal justification for breaking traffic laws.

3. Intoxication

If the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, they could potentially plead a lack of intent as a defense. However, it is not a foolproof defense and depends on the circumstances of each case.


Wrong-way driving is a dangerous and criminal offense that results in severe penalties in Arizona. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our roads are safe, and following traffic rules are essential to achieving this goal. If you have been charged with wrong-way driving, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

For more information on felony wrong way driving DUI charges in Arizona, please visit arjashahlaw.com.