You face harsh penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona. Leaving the scene of a DUI only complicates the circumstances. Whether you caused the accident or were involved in the incident, by law, you are required to stop and failing to do so can result in a felony arrest.
Failure to stop and remain at the site is a violation of several Arizona Statutes, including §28-661, §28-662 and §28-663, all applying to alcohol and drug screening to determine the level of conviction with the crime. Primarily the first two statutes focus on the failure to stop, damages to the vehicles and the severity of any injuries or death. The last one is about information requested by the arriving officer and assistance to the injured parties involved in the accident.
Consequences of leaving the scene of the accident
The significance of leaving the scene is contingent on the facts and the situation, with the severity of the accident used to determine the level of charges.
• Class 3 misdemeanors involve damage to an unoccupied vehicle, street fixture or private property.
• Class 2 misdemeanors involve damage of an occupied vehicle with no injuries.
• Class 5 felony accident charges involve injuries.
• Class 3 felony accident charges involve serious injury or death.
• Class 2 felony accident charges – you caused serious injury or death.
Multiple charges related with DUI accidents resulting in injury or death
It is a fact. DUI drivers are not responsible for all vehicle accidents with serious injury or deaths. However, if a law enforcement officer believes intoxication was a factor, by law, the driver is subject to testing, if the officer had probably cause. Arizona Statute §28-662 is an implied consent. After a lawful arrest, blood, breath and urine testing are mandated. Depending on the results of the tests, a DUI and hit-and-run conviction if you left the scene may result in jail or prison sentencing. The final sentencing will include all of the charges consecutively stacked on top of each other. You will need to complete any jail or prison sentence before other penalties or suspensions are enforced.
• Accidents resulting in serious injuries suspend your license for 5 years.
• Accidents with deaths suspend your license for 10 years.
Separate charges involving no injury, only property damage
Property damages are separate misdemeanor crimes. It is a crime to leave the scene after damaging a parked or unoccupied vehicle. The person causing the damage must notify the owner or leave information related to the accident with the vehicle. Failure to do so, may result in violations of statutes §28-664 or §28-665 with charges of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
• A moving vehicle with no injuries is a Class 2 misdemeanor under §28-662.
Failure to comprehend is not excusable in a court of law, but rarely is anything in life black and white. That is why if you are contacted by law enforcement regarding one of these charges, it is best to not discuss anything with them and immediately contact an attorney to discuss your rights and obligations. Penalties and sentencing of multiple or repeat offensives influence the outcome. Consequences include license revocation, fines and imprisonment. In all cases, as mentioned in prior discussions, you have the right to a defense in a court of law.