Arizona law requires its drivers to remain at the scene of an accident. Failing to remain at the scene of an accident in which you were involved can lead to a hit and run charge.
If you have been charged with a hit and run, know that the legal consequences of this serious charge requires the legal counsel of an Arizona criminal defense lawyer.
Arizona Legal Requirements Post-Accident
Arizona imposes a duty on its drivers to give information and assistance in the aftermath of an accident. This statute, A.R.S. 28-663, requires Arizona citizens to fulfill the following duties if they are in an accident:
- Provide your name, address and registration to either the other drivers involved in the accident or a responding police officer
- Show your driver’s license to other driver(s) or a responding police officer upon request
- Assist the other driver(s) by providing first aid or obtaining help for their injuries if needed
Failing to fulfill these duties may result in a Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries the possibility of up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Hit and Run Statutes Concerning Damage to Other Vehicles
In addition to a driver’s duty to give information and assistance post-accident, Arizona drivers also have additional obligations when an accident causes damage to another vehicle. A.R.S. 28-662 requires drivers who are involved in an accident that damages another vehicle to stop as soon as possible.
If stopping immediately is impossible, the driver must return to the scene of the accident as quickly as humanly possible. Once the driver is able to return to the scene of the accident, the driver must fulfill their obligations to give information and assistance as required by A.R.S. 28-663.
Penalties for Hit and Run Offenses
If an Arizona driver flees the scene of an accident that resulted in serious injury or physical death, that driver may be charged with a hit and run felony.
The precise felony charge that may result will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding the hit and run accident. Still, broadly speaking, a Class 2 felony charge may be the end result of a hit and run accident causing serious physical harm, injury or death.
A Class 2 felony is a severe felony punishment and is not probation eligible. The sentencing range for a Class 2 felony conviction carries a presumptive term of five years in prison.
However, if you were not the cause of an accident but still fled the scene, you may instead be charged with a Class 3 felony. While a Class 3 felony is less severe than Class 2, the offense still carries a presumptive prison term of three years and six months for a Class 3 conviction.
Alternatively, if a hit and run accident did not cause serious injury or death, a Class 5 felony charge may be given. Class 5 convictions carry the presumed risk of a two year prison term.
At the very least, as mentioned, failing to stop after any accident can be a Class 3 misdemeanor. These classifications and penalties are outlined by A.R.S. 28-661.
Simply put, a hit and run conviction has the potential to put you behind bars and permanently alter the direction of your life. The severity of this charge requires a strong legal defense that gives you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed.