If you or someone you know is facing legal charges, or if you have any questions about what a fantastic attorney can do for you, make sure to contact Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Burges McCowan for a free consultation.
What are your responsibilities in case of a car accident?
Car accidents happen all the time. In fact, in 2015 Arizona reported a total of 116,609 accidents leading to more than 53,000 injuries. In case of any accident causing injury or damage to a vehicle, you are required to do several things:
- Stop safely so you are not obstructing traffic (or return to the scene immediately if you are unable to stop safely)
- Provide your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration number
- If there is an injury, make arrangements for the injured person to receive necessary emergency treatment
What is a Hit and Run?
Failure to stop or remain at the scene of the accident is considered a hit and run accident. Arizona law has different requirements depending on the nature of the accident. ARS 28-662, prohibits failing to stop or leaving the scene of an accident that causes damage to another vehicle. ARS 28-661, prohibits failing to stop or leaving the scene of an accident when the accident causes serious injury or death; and also requires making arrangements for emergency medical treatment if necessary. It is not a defense that you were not the cause of the accident. You still have to stop and exchange information and render aid if necessary.
What are the penalties for a Hit and Run?
The penalties involved with these charges vary depending on the severity of the accident. If there is no injury to a person, the charge is a class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 4 months in jail and often carries a fine. If you remain at the scene but fail to help the injured person get necessary medical attention, the charge is a Class 6 felony and can incur up to 2 years in prison, fines, and license suspension. If you hit & run in an accident causing non serious injuries, the charge is a Class 5 felony and can incur up to 2.5 years in prison, fines, and license suspension. If the accident causes death or serious injuries, the charge is a Class 3 felony, or a Class 2 felony if you caused the accident. These penalties are more severe, including up to 12.5 years in prison, fines, and license suspension of three to five years.
What does this have to do with drug testing?
A new law that passed in 2014 means a lot for Hit and Run accidents. Previously, it has been difficult to determine whether a hit and run driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under Arizona law HB 2505, drivers who have been involved in a hit and run accident can be sent for drug or alcohol testing if there is a strong suspicion they were impaired at the time of the crash. This can lead to court-ordered treatment for substance abuse on top of the other penalties.
What should I do if I’m charged with a Hit and Run in Arizona?
As with all legal charges, if you are charged with a Hit and Run, there is a set of protocol you can follow to make your life a whole lot easier. First of all, never talk to the police about your charges. Exercise your right to remain silent. Next, ask to speak to your attorney. This will end all interrogation and make sure you have someone on your side. Retain an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible.