DUI Leaving the Scene
Leaving the scene of an accident, also known as a hit and run or hit and skip, is a very serious offense in Arizona. When charged in connection with a DUI, the consequences become even more severe. In some states, leaving the scene is an aggravating circumstance for DUI, or vice versa. In Arizona, however, they are separate offenses that, when combined together, can have a serious impact on your freedom and your future. An experienced Mesa defense attorney specializing in DUI can work with you to fight against both sets of charges and work towards positive results.Mesa Leaving the Scene of a DUI Accident Defense Lawyer
A common scenario for leaving the scene of a DUI accident is when a driver who has had a few drinks panics after being in an accident and flees – even if he or she doesn't believe the alcohol is causing impairment. If this describes your situation, or you were otherwise arrested for DUI leaving the scene in Maricopa County, including Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, and East Valley, contact The Law Office of James E. Novak.
Tempe DUI defense attorney James Novak will use his 15 years of experienced and several specialized degrees to the advantage of your defense, from the time of your arrest until the resolution of your case. To find out what former prosecutor James Novak can do for your DUI hit and run in Maricopa County, call (480) 413-1499 and schedule your free consultation with The Law Office of James E. Novak today.
Information Center for DUI Leaving the Scene
- Definition of DUI in Arizona
- Definition of Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Arizona
- Arizona Penalties for DUI Leaving the Scene
Definition of DUI in Arizona
Driving under the influence as an offense in Arizona is a more expansive law than most people realize. The law that defines DUI in Arizona is ARS § 28-1381(A), which states that in addition to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher while driving – known as per se DUI and what most people are familiar with as DUI – it is also a DUI offense to commit any of the following:
- Have a BAC of .08 or higher while being in actual physical control of a vehicle, which doesn't necessarily mean driving
- Have a BAC of .08 or higher within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle, when the alcohol was consumed before or during such action
- Have a BAC of .04 or higher while driving or being in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle requiring a commercial driver's license (CDL)
- Driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle with a controlled substance, illicit drug or related metabolite in your system
- Driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while being impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs, inhalants, or any combination
The indication of "impaired to the slightest degree" means that you can be charged with DUI even with a BAC under the legal limit, so long as the officer believes you to be impaired. If your BAC is over .08, the penalties increase with the level of alcohol. These extensive circumstances could potentially make it easier for law enforcement to charge you with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident once you are arrested. An experienced Tempe DUI defense lawyer with prosecution experience will be able to build you a strong defense that fights both charges while exposing the weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
Definition of Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Arizona
Under Arizona law, all drivers on Arizona roads must stop and give information and assistance after an accident. This is governed by ARS § 28-663, which states a driver must stop and complete the following after any accident:
- Give his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle involved in the accident
- Present his or her Arizona driver's license to other persons in the accident, when requested
- Render reasonable medical assistance if an injured person requests it, or if it is otherwise reasonably apparent that treatment is necessary
There are five main offenses for leaving the scene of an accident, or hit and run, defined under Arizona law: leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to an unattended vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to an attended vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, and leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury or death. The penalties for a hit and run in Arizona increase with the severity of the accident.
Facing a DUI charge in addition will only make an already severe offense even more punitive. An experienced Maricopa County DUI defense lawyer can take on both charges and fight for a reduction or dismissal of your DUI leaving the scene case in Mesa or the surrounding areas.
Arizona Penalties for DUI Leaving the Scene
When you are arrested and charged with DUI hit and run in Maricopa County, you are actually being charged with two separate offenses. The penalties you will face as a result of these separate offenses depends on the severity and class of the offense. A first offense of DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which comes with penalties of up to 6 months in jail, up to $1500 in fines and fees, a driver's license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, probation, vehicle impoundment, and a possible substance abuse program.
Depending on your BAC level, your DUI sentence will likely also come with mandatory minimum jail time which must be served consecutively. For first DUI with a BAC of .08-.15, the mandatory minimum is 10 days. For an extreme DUI (BAC .15-.20) or a super extreme DUI (BAC .20 or higher), the mandatory minimums are 30 days and 45 days, respectively. Most leaving the scene charges come with a driver's license suspension, and the penalties are established according to the following:
Class 3 Misdemeanor Leaving the Scene
- Leaving the scene of an accident with an unattended vehicle
- Up to 30 days of jail
- Up to $500 fine
Class 2 Misdemeanor Leaving the Scene
- Leaving the scene of an accident with vehicular damage only, attended vehicle
- Up to 4 months in jail
- Up to $750 fine
Class 5 Felony Leaving the Scene
- Leaving the scene of an accident, injury other than serious injury
- 9 months to 2 years in prison
- $750 or more in fines
Class 3 Felony Leaving the Scene
- Leaving the scene of an accident, serious injury or death
- 18 months to 7 years in jail
- $750 or more in fines
Class 2 Felony Leaving the Scene
- Leaving the scene of an accident, serious injury or death, at-fault driver
- 4 to 19 years in jail
- $750 or more in fines
If convicted of a DUI hit and run in Mesa, Tempe, or the surrounding areas, the penalties you could potentially face are extensive. It is strongly recommended you work with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Mesa who will fight to have both charges reduced or dismissed.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident in Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, or East Valley, contact passionate and skilled DUI defense lawyer James Novak today. With over 15 years of experience, including several as a prosecutor, Novak knows what it takes to fight to protect your rights and your future from a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident involving DUI in Maricopa County. Your first consultation with The Law Office of James E. Novak is free, so call (480) 413-1499 today and schedule yours.