After a car accident, motorists in Arizona have certain driver responsibilities. Residents of Arizona stay at the scene of the car crash not only because they are decent people, but because it is required by law. Yes, Arizona law imposes certain obligations and requirements on motorist who have found themselves in a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian.
Here at the Lorona Mead, our Phoenix car accident attorney receives the following question more times per week than we can count: “I have just been in a car crash, what should I do next?!”
Today, our lawyer is going to answer this question once and for all, and this is the best advice you are going to hear from anyone else: “Do not panic, do not get overly emotional, do not flee the scene, and make sure that everyone, including yourself, is safe and has received medical attention, if needed.” Yes, that’s as simple as that.
Let’s shed the light on the driver responsibilities after a car accident that exist in Arizona as well as outline the criminal penalties you will be facing for fleeing the scene of the crash.
Fact: Each year, Arizona sees about 130,000 hit and run accidents.
No matter how tempting it might be, do NOT flee
Motorists who have just been in a car accident fall into three categories in terms of how they react to the crash:
- They become overly emotional;
- They become too angry; or
- They enter a numb state of shock.
The first two categories of people are more likely to flee the scene, yet those who freeze up can succumb to the irresistible temptation to flee as well. Our experienced car accident attorney in Phoenix says that regardless of the circumstances in your particular case, regardless of whether there were any witnesses or not, regardless of whether it was dark or not, DO NOT leave the scene of the accident.
It might seem like the easiest way out, yet many hit and run defendants have learned it the hard way: no matter what you do, you cannot escape liability and avoid penalties. In fact, fleeing the scene will only make your punishment worse.
Driver responsibilities after a car accident in Arizona
Regardless of whether your car accident resulted in injury, death or property damage, or all of the above, Arizona law imposes certain legal requirements for drivers whose vehicle collided with another vehicle or pedestrian:
- Share your contact information, including your name and address, as well as your vehicle registration number and insurance policy, among other things.
- Be willing to show your driver’s license upon request, especially when this request comes from police officers at the scene of the accident;
- Provide “reasonable assistance” to all the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who have been injured unless you have been injured yourself and are unable to move. Call 911 and police, and wait for their arrival. However, do not move the injured person, as you might aggravate his/her injuries. This assistance must be provided if the other party requests it and even if the other party insists that he or she is “fine” (if it is apparent that medical attention is necessary, it is your duty to call 911).
Fact: Failure to show your driver’s license at the scene of a car crash in Arizona is a Class 3 misdemeanor, while failure to provide reasonable assistance is a Class 6 felony.
Penalties for hit and run in Arizona
Failure to stop your vehicle after a car crash and fleeing or attempting to flee the scene is considered a crime in Arizona. Our Phoenix car accident attorney from the Lorona Mead explains that depending on the nature of the offense, you may be facing:
- Class 3 misdemeanor (prison sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $500);
- Class 2 misdemeanor (prison sentence of up to 4 months and a fine of up to $750);
- Class 6 felony (prison sentence of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $150,000);
- Class 5 felony (prison sentence of up to 1.5 years and a fine of up to $150,000);
- Class 3 felony (prison sentence of up to 3.5 years and a fine of up to $150,000);
- Class 2 felony (prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $150,000).
In addition to the above-mentioned penalties for hit and run, your driver’s license will be suspended for a specified number of months or years.
Let our skilled lawyers at the Lorona Mead help you. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 602-385-6825 or fill out this contact form today. Find out more about your rights, responsibilities, and duties after a car accident.