Arizona hit and run laws: what is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in the Grand Canyon state?
- Arizona hit and run laws: what is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in the Grand Canyon state?
- 28-662 “accidents involving damage to vehicle; failure to stop; fully autonomous vehicle operating without a human driver” explained
- What if you fail to exchange information at the scene of an accident in Arizona?
- When does a hit and run turn into a felony in Arizona?
- How is fault determined in a car accident in Arizona?
- What to do after a hit and run accident in Arizona
- What happens in Arizona if you hit and run while drunk?
- Can you solve a hit and run in Arizona out of court?
- What are the defenses for hit and run in Arizona?
Under ARS 28-662, Arizona hit and run law, leaving the scene of an accident if no one is injured is a misdemeanor. However, if the victim suffers death or injury, the charges may escalate to vehicular homicide, manslaughter, using a vehicle as an offensive, and other charges that apply.
- Failure to help the victim or call law enforcement is a felony.
- Fleeing the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death is a felony.
- If the accident does not result in death or injury, you are guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Hitting a parked vehicle and fleeing is a class 3 misdemeanor.
- 28-662 accidents involving damage to vehicle; failure to stop; fully autonomous vehicle operating without a human driver
- ARS 28-664 duty on striking unattended vehicle
28-662 “accidents involving damage to vehicle; failure to stop; fully autonomous vehicle operating without a human driver” explained
Arizona’s hit and run law requires that. Whenever a motor vehicle driver is involved in an accident, the individual must immediately stop at the scene or near it. In addition, the statute requires the driver to remain at the scene until the individual completes the following requirements.
28-663 Duty to give information and assistance requirements:
- You must give your name, address, and vehicle registration number to the victim, passenger, anyone attending to the victim, or law enforcement.
- Exhibit your driver’s license to the occupants of the vehicle, victim, or law enforcement officials.
- You must render reasonable assistance to any injured party, including making arrangements for transporting the person to an emergency facility or hospital.
What if the vehicle is fully autonomous?
If the vehicle is fully autonomous, you must provide your name, address, and registration number to the victim, an occupant of the vehicle struck, or law enforcement.
Note. Failure to contact law enforcement and render reasonable assistance to the injured party is a class 6 felony. Furthermore, if the driver was intoxicated at the time of the incident, the crime is a felony.
What if the accident does not result in injury or death?
If the vehicle is still mobile, the law requires you to stop it without obstructing traffic. That means you may move your vehicle to a nearby safe spot. What if you fail to stop at the scene of an accident if there are no injuries?
You are guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. A class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500. The court may also order community service, restitution, license suspension/revocation, or probation.
Note – the victim retains the right to take civil action. Meaning, if you have suffered property damage or loss in a hit and run, it is vital that you contact an attorney.
What if the accident results in death or injury?
Suppose the act was intentional, for example, the product of road rage. Then, the charges may escalate into vehicular homicide, manslaughter, causing serious physical injury by moving violation, assault, and other charges. That means that a single set of facts may lead to multiple convictions.
What happens if you hit a parked vehicle in Arizona?
If you hit a parked vehicle in Arizona, failure to stop and locate the vehicle owner or person attending to the vehicle is a class 3 misdemeanor. What if you cannot find the owner or attendant?
ARS 28-664 “duty on striking unattended vehicle” requires you to quote, “In a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck, leave a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle doing the striking.”
What if you fail to exchange information at the scene of an accident in Arizona?
If you flee or fail to fulfill the requirements above, you are guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
When does a hit and run turn into a felony in Arizona?
Failure to fulfill the following will result in felony charges if the victim dies or suffers injury:
- Fail to remain at the scene.
- Failure to provide the injured party, law enforcement, or someone attending the vehicle with your name, license, vehicle registration number, and address.
- Fail to provide reasonable assistance to the victim.
What if the hit and run was not intentional?
If you were involved in an accident that resulted in death but did not cause it, prosecutors might pursue class 3 felony charges. If the victim did not suffer serious injuries, you might face Class 5 felony charges. Remember, the police report and investigations into the event will determine the at-fault party and prosecutor’s move. Therefore, it is in your best interest to contact a defense attorney before you go on record for the incident. Do not forget, anything you say at the scene may be used against you.
That prompts the question:
How is fault determined in a car accident in Arizona?
Arizona is a “pure comparative fault” state, which means the claimant may recover damages even if the individual was partly responsible for the accident.
What is comparative negligence in Arizona?
Under Arizona’s comparative negligence rule, the jury calculates the percentage of responsibility for each party involved in an accident. That means the claimant’s damages award reduces based on their share of fault.
What to do after a hit and run accident in Arizona
If the driver who hit you or your property chooses to run, what you should do is immediately collect and write down all the details you can. It would be best if you had the vehicle’s description, damage to the vehicle, description of the occupant, plates, and anything else you can get your hands on. The idea is to provide this information to law enforcement so that they can track down the offender.
What can you do to increase the chances of the driver getting caught?
- Write down the date and time of the incident, specific location, the road, weather and traffic conditions, and a description of the vehicle.
- Call the police immediately and report the incident.
- Find witnesses in the area.
- If possible, photograph the fleeing vehicle.
- Contact an attorney
- Contact your insurance company
If you hit a person or cause property damage, you should immediately stop at the scene.
- Immediately stop when safe, do not flee or attempt to flee.
- Call 911 if anyone suffered an injury or needs assistance.
- Render reasonable assistance or make arrangements to move the victim to a hospital.
- Report the incident to law enforcement.
- Contact an experienced car accident attorney.
- Notify your insurance company.
Important. Do not admit to fault by using words such as “I did not see the other vehicle,” “it was my fault” and so on, because as mentioned, Arizona is a pure comparative fault state.
What happens in Arizona if you hit and run while drunk?
If the victim suffers injury or death and the driver was drunk, prosecutors may pursue DUI charges and manslaughter charges. And as mentioned, if the act was intentional, the driver will face homicide charges. If you flee the scene, prosecutors may pursue charges including:
- Murder in the second degree
- Third-degree assault
- Driving under the influence
- Misconduct involving a weapon
- Reckless endangerment
- Leaving the scene of a fatality accident
Can you solve a hit and run in Arizona out of court?
If the victim agrees to it, yes, you may solve the issue out of court. Why? Section 13-3981 “compromise of misdemeanors and petty offenses” reads in part quote, “If the party injured appears before the court in which the action is pending at any time before trial, and acknowledges that he has received satisfaction for the injury, the court may, on payment of the costs incurred, order the prosecution dismissed, and the defendant discharged. The reasons for the order shall be set forth and entered of record on the minutes and the order shall be a bar to another prosecution for the same offense.”
Note that this only applies to misdemeanor offenses, meaning you cannot solve a felony out of court. Also, if the victim is a law enforcement official or a repeat offender, the statute does not allow out-of-court settlement.
What are the defenses for hit and run in Arizona?
The facts presented dictate your defense strategy. Consequently, after reviewing the facts and police records, your attorney may choose defenses including:
The accused had a reasonable fear of assault, violence, road rage, or robbery
This defense works if the accused can provide reasonable grounds for why the individual feared for their safety. For example, the other party had a weapon or participated in unlawful conduct such as carjacking. Remember, preserving your safety trumps your legal obligations. Meaning, if you flee from an accident and can provide evidence of perceived danger, you may use that as a defense.
You did not realize that you hit someone or something
If you reasonably concluded that the impact did not stem from hitting someone or something, your lawyer may use this defense. But remember, investigators will investigate the scene and your vehicle and assess your culpability. So, only use this defense if you did not hear or feel the impact.
You had no intent to injure the person or cause property damage
Knowingly striking down a person or property then fleeing the scene without providing reasonable assistance to the victim escalates the crime into a felony. that means if the incident was purely an accident and you assisted the victim, you may use that as a defense.
Note, before you make a statement about the incident, you should contact a defense attorney to avoid saying anything that may compromise your defense.
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