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Arizona Vehicular Crimes

Posted on August 13, 2020 in Vehicular Crimes

If someone commits a crime while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle in Arizona, it is a vehicular crime. Vehicular crimes take many shapes, from vehicular manslaughter to fleeing the scene of a car accident. Committing a vehicular crime could lead to serious penalties, including months to years in jail. If someone accuses you of an Arizona vehicular crime, take the allegation seriously. Contact a Phoenix criminal lawyer at AZ Defenders right away to start planning a defense. A vehicular crime defense attorney in Arizona could help you avoid the most severe criminal consequences.

What Are Vehicular Crimes?

A vehicular crime can describe any crime committed by the driver of a motor vehicle. In Arizona, certain types of vehicular crimes are more commonly charged than others. If you believe the police might arrest you for any type of vehicular crime in Arizona, contact a lawyer right away for assistance.

  • Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) Section 13-1201. Endangerment refers to recklessly risking the safety, health or life of another person by using a vehicle in a way that puts the victim at risk of physical injury or imminent death. It is a class 1 misdemeanor unless it involved a substantial risk of death, in which case it is a class 6 felony.
  • Aggravated assault. ARS Section 13-1204. Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument (in this case, a vehicle) to cause serious physical injuries. Serious injuries can include temporary disfigurement, bone fractures or temporary but substantial impairment of a body part. This is a class 2 to class 6 felony depending on the circumstances.
  • Negligent homicide. ARS Section 13-1102. Causing the death of another person, including an unborn baby, due to criminal negligence. Criminal negligence means the driver failed to see a substantial risk that a reasonable person would have. This is a class 4 felony.
  • Hit-and-run. ARS Section 28-661. Fleeing the scene of an auto accident that causes serious injuries or deaths is a class 2 felony. A driver could also be guilty of a hit-and-run if he or she stops at the scene but leaves before fulfilling the legal requirements, such as assisting those with injuries. A hit-and-run with a nonserious injury is a class 5 felony.
  • Driving under the influence (DUI). ARS Section 28-1381. Being in physical control of a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher, or any amount of an intoxicating drug or vapor in his or her system. DUI is a class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Unlawful flight. ARS Section 28-622.01. Willfully and intentionally fleeing from an on-duty law enforcement officer in a marked vehicle. If the cop car was unmarked, the driver could still face criminal charges if he or she admitted to knowing, or there was evidence that the driver knew, it was a law enforcement vehicle. This is a class 5 felony.

Even a vehicular crime that seems like an accident, such as striking a pedestrian, could lead to serious criminal charges in Arizona. Prosecutors in the state treat vehicular assaults and other vehicle-related crimes as seriously as injuring someone with a weapon such as a gun. Respond quickly to any vehicular crime allegation. Hire an attorney to defend your rights from the very beginning of your case.

What Are the Penalties?

The potential penalties for a vehicular crime in Arizona include jail or prison time, fees, fines, restitution to victims, community service, probation, mandatory driver education courses, and the loss of your driving privileges. The sentence will vary according to the type of vehicular crime, as well as several other factors unique to your case. The penalties for a hit-and-run in Arizona, for example, range from up to six months in jail for vehicular damage to 12.5 years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run.

The penalties for your alleged vehicular crime will depend on a few factors. In sentencing a defendant, a judge will first look at the type of crime. Certain criminal statutes in Arizona list specific penalties for each type and degree of crime. Then, the judge will analyze any aggravating or mitigating factors. An aggravating factor, such as serious bodily injuries or deaths, could increase the severity of the sentence. A mitigating factor, such as a clean criminal record, could reduce the sentence. The best way to minimize the consequences you could face for a vehicular crime conviction is to hire a defense attorney.

Defenses for Arizona Vehicular Crimes

The right defense to a vehicular crime charge could save you from the most serious penalties. It may even result in the courts dismissing the charges against you or a jury acquitting you (finding you not guilty). Your defense strategy will only be as strong, however, as the lawyer who puts it together. Using the right defense attorney for your particular case could lead to a defense that succeeds. Several defenses are possible during an Arizona vehicular crime case.

  • Innocence/alibi. Your lawyer may be able to assert the actual innocence defense by claiming that prosecutors have the wrong defendant. This may be possible with an alibi that puts you in a different place at the time of the alleged crime.
  • Lack of intent. Many vehicular crimes require proof of the defendant’s intent to commit a crime or injure someone. If your lawyer can prove lack of intent, the prosecution may not have a case. If you were unaware the car behind you was a law enforcement vehicle, for example, you may not be guilty of the crime of unlawful flight.
  • Inadmissible evidence. If the arresting officer made a mistake, such as a civil rights violation or unlawful search or seizure, your lawyer could argue for a suspension of evidence. This could collapse the case against you due to insufficient evidence.
  • Entrapment. If a police officer convinced you to commit a vehicular crime while undercover, you could be the victim of entrapment. This is a usable defense if you would not have committed the crime were it not for the prodding or luring of the undercover officer.

If the police have arrested you for any type of vehicular crime in Phoenix, Arizona, contact AZ Defenders right away for an overview of your rights. Hiring the right lawyer to defend you could lead to aggressive negotiations with prosecutors, reduced vehicular offense charges or case dismissal. It is important to call a lawyer as soon as possible for a strong defense.

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