A hit-and-run is a crime that occurs when a driver leaves the scene of a car accident without stopping and fulfilling his or her legal responsibilities. In Arizona, drivers have a specific list of things that they must do before leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision. Any violation of these laws could result in an arrest or criminal charges for an alleged hit-and-run crime. A criminal defense attorney in Scottsdale may be able to guide you through the legal process as it applies to your case.
The state’s hit-and-run laws begin with Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) Section 28-661. This law lists the responsibilities that the driver of a vehicle that is involved in an accident has if that accident results in injury to or the death of a person. These rules apply whether the accident occurs on public or private property. Under this law, a driver shall:
Failing to fulfill these duties is a class 5 felony in Arizona. If the accident resulted in serious physical injury or death, the hit-and-run is upgraded to a class 3 felony. Finally, if the hit-and-run driver is at fault for the accident, it is charged as a class 2 felony.
Arizona’s hit-and-run laws continue in ARS 28-662. This statute states that if a car accident results in property damage only, a driver is legally required to immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close as possible, remain at the scene until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of Section 28-663, and conduct the stop without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If this rule is broken, the hit-and-run crime is charged as a class 1 misdemeanor.
Arizona Revised Statute 28-663 is at the heart of the state’s hit-and-run laws. This statute gives the exact obligations that a motor vehicle driver has after he or she pulls over at the scene of a car accident. These driver requirements are to:
If an individual leaves the scene of a car accident without fulfilling these requirements, even if he or she stopped at the scene of the crash, it can be charged as a hit-and-run. Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. Failing to render reasonable assistance to someone who is injured, however, upgrades this crime to a class 6 felony.
Drivers in Arizona also have specific responsibilities after accidents involving unattended parked vehicles (ARS 28-664) and fixed objects (ARS 28-665). In these scenarios, if the owner of the vehicle or property that was struck cannot be located, the driver must leave a written notice in a conspicuous place with his or her name and address.
Finally, ARS 28-666 requires drivers to give law enforcement notice of a motor vehicle accident that results in injuries, deaths or property damage “immediately by the quickest means of communication.” Typically, this means calling 911 from the scene of the crash using a cell phone to report the car accident. However, this can also mean giving an oral or written statement to the local police department, office of the county sheriff or office of the highway patrol.
If you or a loved one is facing charges for an alleged hit-and-run crime in Arizona, contact a criminal defense attorney at AZ Defenders right away for assistance.