Arizona Football Star Arrested For Road Rage

As more and more people move to Arizona, our roads have become more crowded. Traffic can be irritating and inconvenient, and even causes road rage. But this doesn’t make road rage acceptable, and there can be legal consequences for a driver who takes it too far. Former Arizona football star Terrell Suggs was arrested in April 2024 for a road rage incident that occurred in March 2024. Suggs, a former player at Hamilton High, ASU, and the Arizona Cardinals, got into an altercation at the Starbucks drive-thru on Hayden Road and East Thompson Peak Parkway in Scottsdale. Suggs’ Range Rover backed up in the drive-thru into another driver who was presumably stopped or driving in the correct direction for a drive-thru. This led to an exchange of curse words between the two drivers which ended with Suggs allegedly telling the other driver, “I’ll kill your b**** a**,” and brandishing a black handgun. He was charged with threatening and intimidating and disorderly conduct with a weapon, and his court date is April 25, 2024. Clearly, this is an example of when, “I haven’t had my coffee yet,” isn’t a good justification for one’s actions. Read on to learn more about these charges and other offenses related to road rage in Arizona. If you are seeking a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arizona, call 480-833-8000

Defense attorney preparing a case for Road Rage charges at My AZ Criminal Defense Lawyers' office

Threatening Or Intimidating

Threatening or intimidating is defined in Arizona by A.R.S. § 13-1202. There are three ways types of unlawful threats or intimidation under this statute:

  1. To cause physical injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another;
  2. To cause (including reckless disregard) serious public inconvenience including, but not limited to, evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or public transportation facility; and
  3. To cause physical injury to another person or damage to the property of another in order to promote, further or assist in the interests of or to cause, induce or solicit another person to participate in a criminal street gang, a criminal syndicate, or a racketeering enterprise. 

Without any special factors present, the first two offenses described are considered class 1 misdemeanors. They are increased to a class 6 felony if the person is a street gang member or the offense was committed in retaliation for reporting criminal activity. A violation of the third offense is a class 3 felony. Because Suggs threatened to kill the other driver in the Starbucks drive-thru but didn’t threaten public inconvenience and is not a member of a street gang, this should be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor. Per A.R.S. § 13-707, a class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. 

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is defined in Arizona by A.R.S. § 13-2904. There are six factors describing disorderly conduct in this statute:

  1. Engaging in fighting or violent or seriously disruptive behavior;
  2. Making unreasonable noise;
  3. Using abusive or offensive language or gestures to any person present in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation by such person; 
  4. Making any protracted commotion, utterance, or display with the intent to prevent the transaction of business or a lawful meeting or gathering; 
  5. Refusing to obey a lawful order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; and
  6. Recklessly handling, displaying, or discharging a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. 

Any violation of the first five factors described is considered a class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of the sixth factor is a class 6 felony. Here, Suggs allegedly flipped off the other driver, which could be considered a violation of the third factor. However, you won’t often hear of a driver being arrested solely for flipping off another driver on the road. Suggs pulling out his gun while threatening to kill the other driver is a violation of the sixth factor and a more serious offense. The sentencing guidelines for a first-time class 6 felony offense are listed in A.R.S. § 13-702. The minimum sentence is 6 months, and the maximum sentence is 1.5 years, with the presumptive sentence being 1 year. If mitigating factors are present, it can be reduced to 4 months, but if aggravating factors are present, it can be increased to 2 years. If Suggs is convicted of both charges, he may face several months or even years behind bars. 

Other Road Rage Criminal Offenses

Road rage can be charged as a variety of criminal offenses in Arizona, depending on the specific circumstances at hand. Some of them include:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault

A driver who engages in road rage can be found guilty of more than one offense stemming from the incident. When this happens, the penalties are stacked rather than canceled out. This means that a mistake behind the wheel that may only last a few seconds could result in years of jail time, fines, and other penalties. 

Road Rage Statistics

Road rage is defined as “extreme deliberate, unsafe driving that poses an immediate or significant risk to property or another.” Examples include rude or inflammatory gestures, profanity, hitting or bumping another vehicle, using headlights or brakes to harass another driver, and forcing another car off the road. Tailgating, yelling, and honking are the most common forms of road rage and are a factor in about half of fatal traffic collisions. In 2021, an average of 44 people per month were shot and wounded or killed during road rage incidents. Males engage in more road rage behavior than females, with the respective rates being 37.8% and 29.3%. Drivers between 25 and 39 are the most likely to engage in road rage behaviors. The top five states, in order, for road rage incidents involving a firearm are Texas, Florida, California, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Road rage is more likely to occur in the warmer months and at the end of the week. It is also much higher between 5PM and 7PM, which is many people’s rush hour commute home. Convertible drivers are more likely to engage in road rage when their top is up rather than down, which supports the existing theory that people commit road rage at least partially because they feel like their vehicle gives them anonymity. 

Arrested For Road Rage Offenses In Arizona? Contact Our Firm For a Free Consultation. 

Whether you got into with someone in a Scottsdale Starbucks drive-thru or it occurred on a highway with a higher speed limit, road rage is a serious criminal offense that can come with strict penalties. You should take swift action after an arrest to help mitigate the damage it can cause to your life. Our skilled Arizona criminal defense team will help you determine the best legal strategy based on details specific to your case. Our lawyers are fully prepared to plea bargain when that is the best option, or take your case all the way through trial if necessary. Don’t let allegations of criminal charges destroy everything you’ve worked hard to build. Contact us at My Az Criminal Defense as soon as possible after an arrest for your free consultation- call 480-833-8000.  

Published On: April 15th, 2024Categories: Criminal Defense