Phoenix Hit and Run Lawyer
If you have hit a person, a car, or some other object with your vehicle, (or there’s any chance that you may have) the law insists that you stop, render what aid you can, and call for help for the victim. If you don’t, and you are later caught, there’s a criminal charge awaiting you: leaving the scene of an accident or, in common terms, “hit-and-run.” Being held responsible for a hit and run is a serious criminal offense and requires a strong Phoenix hit-and-run lawyer to provide you with the strongest legal representation.
Leaving the scene of an accident (most people refer to it as the more dramatic “hit-and-run”) is much more common than most people realize. In fact, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported that 11,762 “hit-and-run” collisions occurred in the state in 2012. That amounted to a surprising 11.3 percent of all the accidents in our state. Most of these don’t involve injuries to people, but some do, and some of those people die. And since, the numbers have only increased.
Phoenix’s Hit-and-Run Law
Arizona’s primary offenses of leaving the scene of an accident fall into two categories:
- Accidents that involve only damage to a vehicle
- Accidents that involve death or injury of a person
The law provides for a wide range of punishments, depending on the circumstances and consequences of the accident, including:
- Whether the absconding driver caused the accident
- Whether damage included physical injury or death
- The seriousness of the injury
- Prior convictions
In the most serious case, in which the absconding driver was at fault, the accident caused serious injury or death, and the driver had multiple prior convictions, the penalty includes prison for up to 35 years.
Defenses to Hit and Run
The most common defense is that the driver never knew that they hit someone or something. Among the countless circumstances that determine the credibility of an “I didn’t know” defense are:
- General visibility; darkness, fog, rain, snow, etc. make the defense more credible, while clear conditions make it less so especially if you could have simply looked in your rearview mirror and seen the victim in the road.
- Visibility of the victim or object; dark clothes, small size, partial concealment, etc. make the defense more credible, the opposite makes it less so.
- Testimony from any eyewitnesses.
- The degree of damage, if any, to the vehicle; if there is significant damage, not only was the impact likely to have drawn the driver’s attention, but most people would at least suspect damage had occurred and stop to examine it.
- Whether the reason the driver “didn’t know” was alcohol or drug use.
Another defense that some people claim is, that stopping at the location of the accident would have been dangerous under the circumstances. Most commonly this is raised in the context of the accident having occurred in a “bad part of town,” in which stopping may have put the driver’s safety at risk. In practical terms, the effectiveness of that defense usually depends on how serious the injuries or damage were, and whether the driver did, in fact, stop and report the accident as soon as possible.
Get Experienced Legal Help From a Phoenix Hit-and-Run Attorney
Being charged with hit and run puts your freedom, your reputation and your future at risk. If you have been charged, you should consult with an experienced Arizona hit and run defense attorney just as soon as possible. Certainly, you need legal advice before talking the police or accident investigators; what seem like innocent questions, now can turn into the information that convicts you later.
At Corso Law Group in Scottsdale, AZ, we are experienced, hit-and-run lawyers. That is what we do. That is all we do. As former prosecutors, we are intimately familiar with how the police and prosecutors go about building their case against you. We know how the inside of the government operates, and use that knowledge to help gain success. Call us today and tell us where things stand right now so we can begin your defense. There is no fee for the initial consultation.