Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Under Arizona law, drivers are required to remain at the scene of an accident in certain situations. Even if you were in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you could still be charged with a crime for leaving the scene of an accident. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Phoenix traffic violation attorney has extensive hands-on experience representing clients who were alleged to have fled the scene of an accident. Over two decades, we’ve helped countless drivers who were charged with leaving the scene of an accident keep their licenses and avoid legal trouble.When Does a Driver Need to Stop After an Arizona Traffic Accident?
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-661 and § 28-662, after an accident resulting in property damage, injury or death, drivers are required to stop, exchange information and summon care for anyone who needs medical attention.What Are an Arizona Driver’s Duties After an Accident?
Regardless of whether anyone was injured in the accident, all drivers involved must stop at the scene of the accident or as close to the accident as possible. From there, drivers must exchange their name, address and vehicle registration number with the other drivers involved in the accident. Additionally, if someone in one of the other vehicles requests a driver produce their driver’s license, they must do so. Finally, all drivers have a legal duty to render reasonable assistance to anyone who was injured, including taking an accident victim to the hospital.What is the Punishment for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Phoenix?
Fleeing the scene of an accident varies in terms of severity. For example, under § 28-662, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor if a driver fails to stop and satisfy their obligations after an accident resulting in property damage only. While penalties vary depending on the circumstances of the case, Class 1 misdemeanor convictions carry up to six months in jail.
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death is much more serious. In this case, fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death is considered a Class 3 felony, which carries a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years in prison. However, if you caused the accident, then the crime is considered a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison. If the accident only resulted in another’s injury, rather than serious injury, the offense is graded as a Class 5 felony, which carries a presumptive sentence of 1.5 years in jail.
Additionally, the sentence for fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death must run consecutively to any other charge that was related to the accident. This means that if you fled the scene of a DUI accident you caused, you’d face a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison plus whatever sentence you received for the underlying DUI accident conviction.Does Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Result in a License Suspension?
Possibly. Judges have the discretion to suspend a motorist’s driver’s license if the accident only resulted in property damage. However, in cases involving another’s serious injury or death, the court must suspend the motorist’s license for five or ten years, respectively. Note the license suspension does not begin until the motorist is no longer serving their jail sentence.Have You Been Arrested for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident?
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, it is essential that you have an experienced Phoenix vehicular crimes lawyer by your side at every step of the way. Not only is leaving the scene of an accident a ticket that will add points to your record, it’s also a criminal offense that may land you in jail. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix fleeing the scene of an accident lawyer has decades of experience helping clients keep their licenses and their freedom in the face of these serious allegations. To learn more about how we can help you beat the charges you face, give the Law Office of James E. Novak a call at 480-413-1499. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.