In 2017, there were more than 127,064 car accidents in the state of Arizona.
A majority of these – over 108,000 – involved multiple vehicles.
When there are multiple vehicles involved in an accident, there is a greater chance of a hit and run, or leaving the scene of an accident.
Because of the stress and the resulting adrenaline rush of being in a vehicular accident, the instinctive fight-or-flight response comes into play. Regardless of whether or not you caused the accident, you should remain at the scene and provide assistance. In Arizona, failure to do so is an offense of leaving the scene of an accident, also known as failure to stop or hit and run.
This charge can come with severe consequences, especially if someone was injured, or worse, if someone died, in the accident.
After an accident, all Arizona drivers have a very important obligation to stop and share specific information and provide assistance. You are required to do the following if you are involved in an accident:
Failure to follow all of these rules as they apply to your accident can result in a Class 3 misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to $500 in fines and a maximum of 30 days in jail.
Arizona law states that any individual who is involved in an accident resulting in vehicular damage is legally obligated to stop immediately or to return to the scene as soon as possible. He or she must fulfill his or her duty of providing information and, if necessary, medical assistance. Failure to comply is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of four months in jail and a $750 fine.
In the event that an AZ hit and run accident caused serious physical injury or death, the defendant may be charged with a felony. A serious injury is defined as a physical injury that causes a reasonable risk of death, serious and permanent disfigurement, loss or protracted impairment of an organ or limb function, or serious impairment of health.
A Class 3 felony can be charged if the defendant did not cause the accident but still left the scene of the crime. It is punishable by two and a half to seven years of jail time and a $750 fine.
If the defendant who failed to stop is found to have caused the accident, the charge will be upgraded to a Class 2 felony and will be sentenced to four to ten years in jail plus a $750 fine.
A Class 5 felony can be charged to other Arizona hit and run accidents that do not cause serious injury or death. It is punishable by nine months to two years in jail and a $750 fine.
In addition to jail time and fines, felonies in Arizona come with consequences like ineligibility for certain professional opportunities or government assistance and loss of certain civil rights. Driver’s license revocation may also be imposed depending on the type of felony charged.
If you were involved in an Arizona hit and run accident and fled the scene, it is strongly advised that you get in touch with a skilled lawyer who can evaluate your case and prepare with all possible defenses.
At Howard Snader Law, we take Arizona hit and run accidents seriously and we will work with you to reduce your charges and keep you out of jail. Talk to our experienced criminal defense attorneys now.