Leaving the Scene
Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country and a DUI conviction can result in significant consequences, including incarceration, probation, alcohol screening and classes, steep fines, ignition interlock, loss of driving privileges and other penalties. Any aggravating circumstances while driving under the influence of alcohol (or drugs), such as driving on a suspended license or being involved in an automobile accident can result in even harsher consequences. If you are involved in an accident which causes damage, injury, or death, the law requires you to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives and then cooperation with the police is expected, regardless of who may be at fault. It is commonly found that drivers who have left the scene of an accident while driving under the influence did so out of fear of the consequences, due to alcohol or drugs being in their system. The impaired driver is often later located by law enforcement based on reports from witnesses taking the description of the car and capturing the license plate number. Although the penalties for DUI related accidents are significant, the added charge of leaving the scene of an accident will result in considerably harsher consequences. It is advisable to contact an experienced Tempe DUI attorney to discuss your legal options before making any decisions in your case.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a DUI Accident
The penalties associated with leaving the scene of an accident will depend upon the circumstances of the accident as well as how serious the injuries are to those involved:
- Failing to stop after causing damage to an attended vehicle (non-injury accident) is a class 2 misdemeanor and can result in up to four months in jail, fines of up to $750, and the loss of your license for one year. Alcohol or drug screening may be required as a condition of license reinstatement.
- If the accident results in serious physical injury or death, failing to stop is a class 3 felony, punishable by a presumptive term of 3.5 years in prison. It is a class 2 felony if the driver caused the accident, which can result in a presumptive prison sentence of 5 years, license revocation for 5 years in cases involving serious physical injury and a 10-year license revocation in cases involving death.
- If the injuries are not considered serious as defined by statute, failing to stop is still a class 5 felony which can be result in a presumptive term of 1.5 years in prison and loss of license for 3 years.
These prison terms can be increased with the presence of aggravating circumstances or prior convictions. Any sentence imposed for leaving the scene is required by law to run consecutively to any sentence imposed for any other offense related to the accident.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene while driving under the influence, contact a Tempe DUI lawyer for legal assistance. Attorney Trent Buckallew is a Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer with nearly 20 years experience in litigating all types of DUI cases, including leaving the scene of accidents involving serious injury and death. Mr. Buckallew will launch an aggressive defense on your behalf and fight for resolution of your case in the most favorable terms possible.