Being involved in a car accident can be a scary experience. When a collision occurs, it can seem like everything is out of control. If you are in an accident it is important that you don’t panic. It is also important that you are aware of your obligations. Failure to comply with Arizona laws related to traffic accidents can have severe consequences. You could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for violating any of the Arizona statutes related to car accidents, even if you aren’t the at-fault party. Being fully informed can help you avoid criminal charges.
Make sure that you understand your legal obligations after a car accident.
One of the most important obligations you have after an automobile accident is to stop at the scene. You have probably heard the term “hit and run.” In most situations, this is referring to someone who caused a car crash and then fled the scene. The legal term for a hit and run is “leaving the scene.” The charge can still apply even if there were no injuries.
Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 28-661 and § 28-662 define your legal obligation to stop at the scene of a car accident. You must stop either at the scene or as close to the scene as you can safely get. This is true even if the accident did not result in an injury. If there is only damage to vehicles you must remain at the scene or you can face a class 2 misdemeanor charge. In cases where another party suffered serious injuries or death and you fail to stop, you may face a class 3 felony even if you did not cause the accident. If you did cause the accident, this increases to a class 2 felony.
Simply remaining at the scene of the car accident does not fulfill your legal obligations. A.R.S. § 28-663 defines your specific obligations at the scene of the crash. The first of these is exchanging information with the other person or people involved in the accident. This should include your name and your vehicle identification number (VIN). You don’t have to provide your driver’s license unless the other driver or law enforcement specifically requests it.
This statute also states that you must provide “reasonable assistance” to any injured parties. For example, you must make arrangements to get medical treatment for anyone injured in the car accident. Failure to provide such assistance can result in a class 6 felony. As with leaving the scene, you may face these charges even if you did not cause the accident.
Another statute, A.R.S. § 28-666, states that if you are involved in a car accident that results in injury or death, you must report it as quickly as possible to the nearest authorities. This can include police, sheriffs, or highway patrol. You may also be required to report the accident to your insurance company.
You do not need to report the accident to Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). This is the responsibility of any law enforcement officers on the scene. These individuals will file a police report if there are serious injuries or significant property damage that was the result of the accident.
If you are facing any charges related to a vehicle accident in the state of Arizona, you need experienced legal representation.