Arizona Laws on Accident DUI Based on Alcohol

Phoenix Lawyer Defending Local Residents Against Drunk Driving Charges

You should take it seriously if a prosecutor charges you under an Arizona law for accident DUI based on alcohol. If your drunk driving crash causes injuries to someone, you are likely to be charged with felony DUI. Moreover, if somebody dies because of your drunk driving crash, it's likely you would be charged with vehicular manslaughter, which is also a felony. James Novak is an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney. He can use insights he obtained while working as a prosecutor to examine the situation, and negotiate with the prosecutor to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. If a plea deal isn't possible, he can take your case to trial.

Arizona Laws on Accident DUI Based on Alcohol

Oftentimes, prosecutors charge DUIs based on alcohol not as serious felonies, but rather as misdemeanors. However, accident DUIs based on alcohol might be charged as felonies. There are multiple different crimes that could be charged after an accident DUI. The particular crimes that might be charged include leaving the scene after causing an accident resulting in death or serious injuries, manslaughter, driving under the extreme influence of intoxicating liquor, or aggravated driving under the influence.

Each of these crimes is covered under a different section of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The most serious accident DUIs are those that result in injuries or death. You can be charged under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1204 (A), which criminalizes aggravated assault. The prosecutor will need to show either that you caused serious physical injury to another or that you used a dangerous instrument (the car) to gravely injure another, and that you did so knowingly, intentionally or recklessly. It may be possible to show you hit someone recklessly if you were drunk driving and knew there was a risk of a collision. You could face penalties such as incarceration, fines, driver's license revocation, community service, probation, mandatory drug screening, and the requirement that you install an ignition interlock device. You may face a presumptive 10.5 years of incarceration.

Arizona Revised Statute § 28-661 mandates that the driver of a car that gets into an accident resulting in injuries or death to someone stop at the scene of the accident and remain there until certain obligations are fulfilled. Some drivers perpetrate a hit and run because they are afraid of getting charged with a DUI and want to flee before the police arrive, but if a hit and run is committed in connection with injuries or death, the police will likely conduct a thorough investigation. A class 2 felony may be charged where the driver caused the accident. Even if he didn't cause the accident, a class 3 felony may be charged. It's important to realize that if you're convicted of a hit and run crime, the sentence will run consecutively to any sentence imposed on you for drunk driving (meaning you'll serve both sentences, one after the other).


The defense strategy for an accident DUI turns at least partially on the specific charge, and a seasoned DUI lawyer can help you determine the approach that’s right for you. For example, if you are charged with an extreme DUI, your defense may focus on challenging the test results that show your blood alcohol content was .15% or greater. On the other hand, if you're charged with aggravated assault, you might focus on raising reasonable doubt about whether you had the appropriate state of mind to be charged with aggravated assault (knowing, intentional or reckless).

There are other strategies you may be able to use to have the charges reduced in a plea negotiation, or to try to have the charges dismissed. It might be appropriate, for example, to prove that even though you were drunk driving, your actions didn't cause the accident.

Consult an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Phoenix

Arizona laws on accident DUIs based on alcohol can impose very serious penalties in Phoenix. If you're being investigated for an accident DUI, you knowledgeable criminal defense attorney James E. Novak can help you understand your legal rights and options. Mr. Novak represents those charged with crimes throughout the Phoenix area, including in Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and throughout Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact him via our online form.

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