In 2012, there were more than 103,000 car accidents in the state of Arizona.
A majority of these – over 84,000 – involved multiple vehicles.
When accidents have more than one vehicle, there is a greater chance of a hit and run, or leaving the scene of an accident.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Arizona
In Arizona, you are legally obligated to stop if you are involved in an accident, and failure to do so can be considered as leaving the scene of an accident, which may earn you a hit and run charge.
This charge can come with serious consequences, especially if someone was injured in the accident.
Arizona Hit and Run Statutes
Arizona law, A.R.S. 28-663, Duty to Give Information and Assistance, states that if you are involved in an accident, you are legally required to perform the following duties:
- Give your name, address, and registration to the other driver or responding police officer.
- Show your driver’s license if the other driver or responding officer requests that you do so.
- Assist the other driver by administering first aid or getting help for injuries if necessary.
Any individual who fails to offer information or assistance after they have been involved in an accident in Arizona can be charged with class 3 misdemeanor, which can come with up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail.
Damage from a Hit and Run Accident
In addition to the statute above, Arizona law includes A.R.S. 28-662 regarding accidents involving damage to a vehicle. This statute states that any individual who is involved in an accident and damage is done to a vehicle has the legal obligation to stop as soon as possible.
If you are unable to stop immediately, you must return to the scene as soon as possible. After you have stopped, you must perform the same duties as are stated in A.R.S. 28-663.
Felony Charges for a Hit and Run
In the event that a hit and run accident caused serious physical injury or death, the defendant may be charged with a felony. Felony charges vary depending on the circumstances, but in general, a class 2 felony may be charged to someone who’s accident caused physical harm or death.
A class 3 felony can be charged if the defendant didn’t cause the accident but still left the scene of the crime.
A class 5 felony can be charged to other hit and run accidents that don’t cause serious injury or death, and as we mentioned, failure to stop after any accident can be a class 3 misdemeanor.
How Long After a Hit and Run Accident Can You Be Charged?
Every crime that a person can be charged with has a statute of limitations, and the less severe the crime, the shorter the duration of time is allowed for law enforcement to legally apprehend them. If the police are unable to do so within the allotted time, the person cannot be charged with that crime. In the case of a typical hit-and-run, damage to another person’s car or other property typically only has a three or four year statute of limitation.
However, if a more serious crime is committed during the hit-and-run, this may extend the statute of limitations. For instance, if a person was intentionally run over with a car and killed, this hit-and-run would be treated as a murder. In this case, there is no statute of limitations for a murder charge, the police can apprehend the suspect for the crime at any time. It is also important to understand that the more severe the incident, the more likely it is that the police will continue to to actively search for the subject.
Reduce Your Charges with JacksonWhite Law
If you were involved in a hit and run accident and fled the scene, it’s important to have a strong legal team that can explore all possible defenses. At JacksonWhite Law, we understand the severity of hit and run accidents and can work to reduce your penalties and keep you out of jail.
Our experienced legal team has helped clients around the valley – in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and other cities – make the most of their day in court. When you need superior legal help, contact the Mesa criminal defense attorneys at JacksonWhite Law today.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.