Arizona Revised Statutes – Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Under Arizona law, after an accident, you must remain with your vehicle or at the scene of the accident until members of law enforcement release you. Never leave the scene of an accident. In this article, we will examine Arizona Revised Statutes – leaving the scene of an accident, which govern “hit-and-run” situations in Arizona.
ARS § 28-661: Leaving the Scene of an Accident that Results in Injury or Death
This statute is the most serious, as leaving the scene of an accident that results in injury or death is the most serious type of hit and run. Leaving the scene of an accident in this situation is a crime that carries a charge of a class 2 or 3 felony, depending on who caused the accident. Drivers who leave accidents that cause less severe injuries are guilty of a class 5 felony.
The severity of the penalties created by ARS § 28-661 underscores the vital importance of drivers remaining at or promptly returning to the accident scene and providing assistance to the injured parties and summoning emergency services.
ARS § 28-662: Leaving Accident Scene – Damage to Vehicle
This violation is a class 2 misdemeanor hit-and-run, wherein the driver left the scene of an accident that caused only damage to vehicles. Drivers who are found to be guilty of this offense may lose their driver’s license for up to one year.
In addition, ARS 28-662A3 mandates that drivers involved in an accident not only stay at the scene but also do so in a manner that minimizes obstruction to traffic. If possible, drivers should move damaged vehicles to the shoulder of the road or off the road completely.
ARS § 28-663: Failure to Give Information at an Accident
Under this statute, it is a class 3 misdemeanor to refuse to exchange information with another involved party after an accident.
You must provide basic information, including your name, address, and vehicle registration number. It is also a good idea to provide (and request) your insurance information.
ARS § 28-663(A)(3) provides that it is a class 6 felony if a driver who is involved in an accident fails to provide reasonable assistance to injured or incapacitated parties. While Arizona law does not expect you to endanger your own life or well-being, you should, at the very least, call for help. If you dial 911, the operator will walk you through appropriate steps to assist until first responders arrive.
ARS § 28-664: Failure to Stop on Striking Unattended Vehicle
Violating this statute constitutes a class 3 misdemeanor. If you hit a parked car, you must either find the driver/owner or leave a conspicuous note with your name, address, and a reliable way to contact you.
ARS § 28-665: Failure to Notify When Striking Fixture on Highway
It is not only vehicles that can suffer a hit and run; the law also prohibits hitting anything without properly reporting damage. It is a class 3 misdemeanor to fail to report damage to road signs, construction equipment, mailboxes, or virtually any other property that is legally on or adjacent to a roadway.
What Happens If You Leave the Scene of an Accident in Arizona?
Once again, we must emphasize that you should never leave the scene of an accident. As we’ve described above, under the Arizona Revised Statutes, these are serious crimes.
Class 2 misdemeanors, which in this case primarily include leaving the scene of an accident with damage to a vehicle, carry a $750 fine and can be punishable with up to four months in jail.
Class 3 misdemeanors, including failure to give information and leaving the scene of an accident with a parked car or another object, carry a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
Felonies are more complicated to adjudicate. In the hit-and-run context, the severity of the charges corresponds to the extent of the injuries sustained by the other party.
The courts may charge you with a class 6 felony for failure to render assistance. This is the least severe and usually carries fines, probation, and four months to two years in prison.
If you are charged with a class 5 felony, you may face a $750 fine, three years’ driver’s license suspension, and nine months to two years in prison.
You may be charged with a class 3 felony if another party was seriously injured or killed (which may be upgraded to a class 2 felony if you caused the accident). The fine is $750, but you could face 4 to 10 years in prison.
Call an Experienced Arizona Attorney
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, you need quality representation. Remember, even minor hit-and-run accidents carry severe penalties that can impact the rest of your life. Do the right thing!