- Hit and Run – Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Common Reasons to Leave the Scene of an Accident
- Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
- Property Damage in a Hit and Run?
- Accidental Damage to a Parked Car
- A Single Car Accident that Only Causes Vehicle Damage
- A Car Accident that Only Causes Minor Injuries
- Serious Injury or Death as a Result of an Accident
- What if I Wasn’t At Fault for the Accident?
- What To Do If You Leave an Accident Scene?
- Defenses for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
- Hit and Run Statistics in Arizona
- CHM Law Can Help Defend Charges of a Hit and Run
Hit and Run Charges in Arizona – Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Accidents are stressful events, no matter what the circumstances are. A hit-and-run is one of the most serious crashes in Arizona, as defined under the state’s legislation ARS 28-662.
When a motorist impacts another car, person, or property and then flees the scene of an accident, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony hit and run depending on the circumstances.
Following an accident in Arizona, you must stop and share information with the other party, as well as alert the appropriate authorities.
If you are the victim or defendant in one of these accidents, you should contact a hit and run lawyer at Colburn Hintze Maletta.
Regardless of your role, you have rights that our attorneys will discuss during your free consultation.
Common Reasons Why Someone Might Leave the Scene of an Accident
There are a variety of reasons why a motorist would flee the scene of an accident. The following is a list of the most prevalent reasons for hit-and-run accidents.
- The motorist is inebriated or under the influence. They do not want to risk further prison time as a result of a DUI conviction.
- The driver’s license has been suspended. They do not want to go to jail for driving on a suspended license.
- The driver is underage or does not have a valid Arizona driver’s license.
- The driver is not covered by car insurance. Driving without insurance in Arizona may result in penalties.
- The driver is wanted on an outstanding warrant. They do not want to be arrested by the police.
- The vehicle the driver is driving is stolen.
- The driver did not realize an accident was caused.
- Simply out of fear or intimidation.
Every auto accident scenario is different, and in the moment a person might have thought of good intentions but acted out of fear of what might happen.
That is why our defense attorneys are here to listen, not here to judge a decision.
What are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
If any form of vehicular accident has occurred, it is required by Arizona law that the person who is responsible for the accident remain at the scene. They must communicate with the other party and call the appropriate authorities. Both the victim and the defendant may need medical care as a result of their injuries. If the motorist flees the scene of the accident, they may be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony hit and run.
If the motorist flees the scene of the accident, they may be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony hit and run.
The different penalties for a misdemeanor hit and run or a felony leaving the scene of an accident can be severe.
Accidents that just cause property damage have the fewest serious repercussions. If the motorist causes serious injury or death to the victim, they will face harsher consequences, including long prison terms.
What if Only Property Damage Was Caused in a Hit and Run?
The most typical sort of hit-and-run collision involves merely property damage. You can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor and face up to 6 months in jail, 3 years of probation, and a fine of up to $2,500 if you hit the property and do not take reasonable steps to locate and notify the person in charge of the property of the accident, your name and address, and your vehicle information.
Accidental Damage to a Parked Car
You should start by looking for the driver, but if the owner of the vehicle can not be found, then you must leave personal information behind if you strike a parked car. You may include your contact information, insurance information, and vehicle identification number. If you do not disclose your personal information after colliding with a parked car, you might be punished with a Class 1 Misdemeanor and face up to three years on probation. You might also face a fine of up to $2,500.
If you do not disclose your personal information after colliding with a parked car, you might be punished with a Class 1 Misdemeanor and face up to three years on probation. You might also face a fine of up to $2,500.
In addition, you can face civil penalties and repercussions from your insurance agency.
A Single Car Accident that Only Causes Vehicle Damage
A motorist who flees the scene after colliding with a moving car may be charged with a class one misdemeanor. This clause only applies to defendants who do not cause injury to the struck vehicle’s driver. When two drivers collide while driving, each must stop and disclose personal information. Accidents at stoplights and stop signs are also included in this fee.
When two drivers collide while driving, each must stop and disclose personal information. Accidents at stoplights and stop signs are also included in this fee.
You could spend up to six months in jail if you are charged with a class one misdemeanor. Three years of probation and a fine of up to $2,500 plus surcharges are other possible punishments.
A Car Accident that Only Causes Minor Injuries
If a person involved in a hit and run accident caused minor injuries and left the scene of an accident, they face a class five felony charge. Minor injuries mean that the injured person is still alive and will not have any major medical issues.
Again, both sets of drivers must come to a stop and exchange personal information. Contact information, registration numbers, and insurance information should all be exchanged. They can be charged with a class five felony if they do not stop and do this. Non-serious injuries that occurred, and the person at fault left the scene of the accident, may result in a sentence of up to 2.5 years in prison or up to 3 years of probation with up to 1 year of county jail time as part of the sentence. Additionally, your driver’s license might be suspended for up to three years.
Non-serious injuries that occurred, and the person at fault left the scene of the accident, may result in a sentence of up to 2.5 years in prison or up to 3 years of probation with up to 1 year of county jail time as part of the sentence. Additionally, your driver’s license might be suspended for up to three years.
Serious Injury or Death as a Result of an Accident
After a hit-and-run accident that results in major damage or death, the most serious repercussions can happen. In Arizona, defendants must come to a halt, exchange information, and, if feasible, provide assistance. They should call for help and remain with the sufferer. If a motorist fails to stop after causing significant harm or death, they will face charges of a class two felony.
If a motorist fails to stop after causing significant harm or death, they will face charges of a class two felony.
For these offenses, you may face up to 12.5 years in jail and a ten-year suspension of your driver’s license, along with other fines and penalties. The person charged also faces civil lawsuits.
What if I Wasn’t At-Fault for the Accident?
If you were not the person at-fault for the car accident but were the person who left the scene of the accident, you are still held accountable and face charges as well. Especially if there were injuries involved. Regardless of who is at fault, all parties are required to remain at the scene.
Even if you were not at fault, you must still remain at the scene and provide your personal information. Otherwise you face the potential of misdemeanor of felony charges.
Regardless of who is at fault, a police report needs to be filed. This will help aid your defense attorney in your case.
Common Punishments for Hit-and-Run Accidents
See the chart below for an outline of the consequences you might face if you are charged with hit and run.
|Types of Damages from the Accident||Penalties for the Hit and Run Accident||Arizona Statute|
|Damage to a non-vehicle||Jail time of 180 days, 3 years of probation, fine of $2500||ARS 28-665|
|Damage to a parked vehicle||Jail time of 180 days, 3 years of probation, fine of $2500||ARS 28-664|
|Solely damage to the property||Jail time of 180 days, 3 years of probation, fine of $2500||ARS 28-662|
|Non-serious injuries||Prison time of up to 2.5 years or more with a prior felony, driver’s license loss for up to three years||ARS 28-662|
|Serious injury or death (if you are not the defendant)||Up to 8.75 years in prison with no prior felonies, driver’s license loss for up to five years||ARS 28-661|
|Serious injury or death (if you are the defendant)||Up to 12.5 years in prison with a prior conviction, driver’s license loss for up to 10 years||ARS 28-661|
What To Do If You Leave an Accident Scene?
You still have rights if you leave the scene of an accident. Defendants often act hastily, without considering the implications. One cause might be that you were probably terrified of retaliation from the victim. Moving your car to a secure location may be difficult at times. If the victim believes you are unwilling to stop, they may pull away. You may also leave the scene of an accident for other reasons, such as road rage or a medical emergency.
Moving your car to a secure location may be difficult at times. If the victim believes you are unwilling to stop, they may pull away. You may also leave the scene of an accident for other reasons, such as road rage or a medical emergency.
Leaving the site of an accident is a severe scenario under any circumstance. Colburn Hintze Maletta recommends contacting a criminal defense lawyer at our firm as soon as possible. We can assist you in understanding your rights and obtaining the best possible outcomes.
Defense to Leaving the Scene of an Accident
If a person has been involved in a car accident and left the scene, they may face criminal charges. However, there are some defenses that may be used in such a situation.
Below are five possible defenses that your attorney can use:
- Lack of knowledge: If the person did not realize that they were involved in an accident and left the scene unintentionally, it may be argued that they lacked the knowledge required to be charged with a hit and run.
- Self-defense or defense of others: If the person left the scene of the accident because they believed that they were in danger or were protecting someone else from harm, it may be argued that they left the scene in self-defense or defense of others.
- Medical emergency: If the person left the scene of the accident because they had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or seizure, it may be argued that they left the scene involuntarily and without the intention of committing a hit and run.
- Duress: If the person left the scene of the accident under duress, meaning that they were forced to leave by someone else who threatened them, it may be argued that they left involuntarily and should not be charged with a hit and run.
- Lack of damage or injury: If the accident did not result in any damage or injury to the other person or property, it may be argued that the person did not have a legal duty to stop and exchange information, and therefore should not be charged with a hit and run.
It’s important to note that the viability of these defenses will depend on the specific facts of the case, and an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney should be consulted for advice on the best course of action.
Hit and Run Statistics in Arizona
Car accidents are way too common in Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there have been an average of 15,000 of these accidents in the last several years. Fortunately, the majority of hit-and-run accidents only cause property damage. Victims of these crashes are seldom killed or seriously injured.
Fortunately, the majority of hit-and-run accidents only cause property damage. Victims of these crashes are seldom killed or seriously injured.
The most common victims of hit-and-run accidents are pedestrians and bicycles. Due to the pile-up, it is often practically impossible for the defendant to flee the scene in these cases.
Colburn Hintze Maletta Can Help Defend Charges of a Hit and Run
The hit and run defense attorneys at CHM Law can help you develop a strategic plan for your case, starting with a free consultation to get started.
Whatever the case may be, we are here to help you. Call us at (602) 825-2500 today and tell us your side.
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