Arkansas Hit and Run Laws

Arkansas hit and run laws: what is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in the Ozark state?

Arkansas general provisions 27-53-102 and 27-53-103, Arkansas hit and run law. State that you must stay at the scene and render reasonable assistance to the injured party whenever an accident occurs. What happens if you flee?

Quick take:

  • Fleeing from the scene of an accident is a felony in Arkansas.
  • If the accident does not result in property damage amounting to $10000 or more, a hit and run is a class A misdemeanor.
  • Hit-and-run accident that results in damage over $10000, death or injury becomes a felony if the driver flees the scene.
  • The facts presented shape your defense strategy.
  • Arkansas hit and run laws do not prevent prosecutors from pursuing other charges.


AR Code 27-53-102 “accidents involving damage only to vehicle, or personal property of another person”

Under the statute, when you hit or cause damage to someone else’s property, you have a legal obligation to immediately stop at the scene or reasonably close to the scene until you fulfil the requirements under 27-53-103.

27-53-103 requires that:

  • If the accident results in property damage, death, or injury, you must provide the victim, a person attending the vehicle, a passenger, or law enforcement with your name, address, and the registration number of your vehicle.
  • Exhibit your driver’s license upon request to the victim, law enforcement, or person attending to the injured party.
  • You must offer reasonable assistance to the injured party, including arranging to transport the individual to an emergency facility or hospital.

What if the accident does not result in death or injury?

As mentioned, you must immediately stop and park your car in a safe position or in a way that does not interfere with traffic. Note, you must comply with the requirements within thirty minutes of the accident. Meaning, if you do not call law enforcement within that time gap, you may face criminal charges. Also, the requirements do not apply if the driver is incapacitated or severely injured.

What if a hit and run results in injury or death in Arkansas?

If the accident results in death or injury, do not move the vehicle from the accident scene. Why? Under state law, leaving the scene of an accident without rendering reasonable assistance to the victim is a class D felony. A Class D felony in Arkansas is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10000. On top of that, the court will revoke your driver’s license.

State statute 27-53-101 reads in part quote, “Any person failing to comply with subsection (a) of this section or with 27-53-103 shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a Class D felony.”

AR code 27-53-101 through 27-53-103: what to remember:

  • You must stop at the scene of an accident and render reasonable assistance to the injured party.
  • Failure to stop and render reasonable assistance to the victim is a class D felony.
  • The felony charge escalates if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If convicted, the commissioner will revoke the accused’s driver’s license.
  • If the vehicle is disabled or if the victim suffers injury or death. Do not move the vehicle, unless instructed to do so by law enforcement or emergency workers.

What is the penalty for leaving the scene of a hit and run in Arkansas?

If the hit and run was intentional but did not result in injury or death or if the damage totals more than $1000 but less than $10000, the accused is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. In Arkansas, a class A misdemeanour is punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $2500.

 A hit and run in Arkansas escalate into a class D felony if the damage amounts to $10000 or more or if the accident resulted from a negligent act such as driving under the influence.

Note that a DUI and a hit and run are separate offenses, meaning you may face multiple charges.

Did you have a motive?

Motive determines if the driver faces vehicular homicide charges or vehicular manslaughter. That means if you intentionally cause the death of someone, say, during a road rage incident, you may face vehicular homicide charges. Vehicular homicide in Arkansas, under 5-10-105, is a class B felony, punishable by up to twenty years in prison plus a $15000 fine.

You may face negligent homicide charges if the hit and run was caused by:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Driving while fatigued.
  • While passing a school bus

Is hit and run a felony in Arkansas?

If you do not stop immediately and help the victim, or if the incident was caused by negligent driving, the hit and run can escalate into a felony.

Note that under 5-10-104, if you reasonably believed that the victim intended to engage in conduct that might result in serious physical injury or death, then you have committed no crime because you acted in self-defense.

That said, manslaughter is a class C felony in Arkansas.

After a hit and run in Arkansas, the victim has the right to take civil action.

Suppose you are the victim of a hit and run in Arkansas. In that case, you may take civil action to recover damages, including diminished earning capacity, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Again, this makes it vital to act as early as you can.

That prompts the question, what is the statute of limitations on hit and run in Arkansas?

What is the statute of limitations on car accidents in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, you have three years from the time of the incident to take civil action. After the period expires, you cannot act.

What to do and what not to do after a hit and run in Arkansas?

Under state law, fault is assigned based on the actions or inactions of both parties. The fault of each party is expressed as a percentage, meaning the percentage of fault on your end lowers liability on the other party. Because of that, there are several things you should never do at the scene of an accident.

What drivers should not do after a hit and run

  • Never flee or leave the scene.
  • Never admit guilt or use words such as “it was my fault.”

What should drivers do?

  • Call or notify law enforcement within thirty minutes of the incident.
  • Collect eyewitness statements and write down every detail of the incident.
  • Render reasonable assistance to the victim.
What should victims of a hit-and-run in Arkansas do?

Note that any detail you provide may lead to the arrest of the perpetrator. Therefore, collect as many details as you can about the vehicle, the person driving it, traffic conditions, and anything else you deem valuable. A number plate is an excellent place to start. Just like the perpetrator, do not accept blame for the incident until you consult with an attorney. If you accept responsibility, you may become ineligible for compensation.

We recommend:

  • Taking pictures of the vehicle and recording the damage to it.
  • Keep all receipts and medical records. You will need them if the case goes to trial or if you take civil action.
  • Consult with an experienced attorney to file the right claim.
  • Contact insurance after you have spoken with your attorney

Arkansas hit and run laws and careless and prohibited driving

Was the accident an act of negligence? Under 27-51-104 “careless and prohibited driving.” it is unlawful to do the following:

  • Make improper or unsafe lane changes.
  • Drive across private property.
  • Driving too close to another vehicle.
  • Operate a vehicle in a manner likely to cause loss of control.
  • Inattentively drive a vehicle, for example, driving while texting

Reckless driving in Arkansas is punishable by a fine that does not exceed $100. What if reckless driving results in death, property damage, or injury? The charges may escalate to manslaughter, homicide, and other felony charges that apply.

In other words, Arkansas hit-and-run laws do not prevent prosecutors from seeking additional charges.

What are the defenses for a hit and run in Arkansas?

You had reason to fear for your safety

As mentioned, if you feel that your life and health are in jeopardy after a hit and run, you may flee the scene and immediately report the incident to law enforcement.

You may go to the nearest police station or call law enforcement. Remember, failing to stop at the scene without a valid reason is a felony.

You did not know that you hit a person or property

Remember, if the accident results in property damage or injury, insurers and law enforcement will investigate the scene and your vehicle. That may result in expert testimony. Therefore, only use this defense if you did not hear or feel the impact.

Overall, your defense will depend on the facts brought forward, meaning it is in your best interest to contact a defense attorney.

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