The Law Office of James Novak Hero Banner

DUI Leaving the Scene

What Does DUI Leaving the Scene Mean?

driving through a tunnel DUI with leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run) involves multiple offenses.

Call Us

A driver involved in a motor vehicle accident is required to fulfill certain obligations under the law. If a driver fails to stay at the scene to carry out those responsibilities they are in violation of the law. This is also referred to as “hit and run”.

Driving impaired due to drugs or alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident are separate criminal charges. But if a driver involved in an accident, left the scene, and was driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs, they will be charged with both DUI and leaving the scene

What are the Laws Regarding DUI Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

Below is a brief overview of Arizona DUI laws and leaving the scene laws:

DUI: In Arizona a person over the age of 21 can be found guilty of impaired driving under A.R.S. 28-1381 if they are driving while impaired to the slightest degree or if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level exceeds .08 percent or above.

Under Arizona’s extreme DUI law A.R.S. 28-1382 a DUI involving a BAC that exceeds .15 percent is classified as an Extreme DUI. If the BAC exceeds .20 percent it is classified as a Super Extreme DUI.

A first- time non-aggravated DUI offense is generally charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This is the case even if the impaired driving involves an extreme blood alcohol content (BAC) level.

If aggravated factors surround the DUI, the impaired driving offense will be raised to an Aggravated DUI. One of several aggravated factors includes causing a serious injury accident or fatality while driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

The classification of charges will depend on the circumstances. A significant amount of weight is placed on whether or not a serious injury or fatality is involved.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident:

Leaving the scene of an accident may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether or not there was a fatality or injury. If an injury was involved, the law takes into account the seriousness of the injury. Below is an outline of hit and run laws that may apply depending on the circumstances:

  • A.R.S. 28-661 (A) & (B) – Accidents involving serious injury or fatality. When a driver is involved in a serious accident involves a serious injury or fatality they have an obligation to stop at or as close as possible to the scene of the accident. They must provide information and assistance in compliance with A.R.S. 28-663. Felony charges in Arizona are classified from 1 to 5 with one being the most serious. With that, a driver involved in the serious injury or fatal accident who is in violation of this law, may be found guilty of a Class 3 felony. But if it is found that the driver caused the accident, it is a Class 2 felony.
  • A.R.S. 28-661 (A) & (C) - Accidents involving an injury that is not serious or fatal. A driver involved in an accident that involves an injury, but the injury did not result in fatality, and is not serious as defined under Arizona law, must stop at or as close as possible to the scene of the accident. The driver must provide information and assistance in compliance with A.R.S. 28-663. Failure to comply with this law is a class 5 felony.
  • A.R.S. 28-662 - Accidents involving vehicle damage only. The driver must stop at the scene avoid obstructing traffic as much as possible. They must stay there until they have met the requirements of A.R.S. 28-663. Violations of this law will result in a Class 2 misdemeanor.
  • A.R.S. 28-663 (A) (1) (2) (3): Duty to give information and provide assistance. The driver involved in the accident must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number, and driver’s license upon request by the injured person (s) or others on their behalf. Failure to comply with this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor. The driver must provide reasonable assistance and/or help the injured party secure emergency medical help if needed. Failure to comply with this section is Class 6 felony.
  • A.R.S. 28-664: Hitting a parked or unattended vehicle : A driver that hits a vacant parked, is required to stop and try to locate the owner of that vehicle to provide their information. If that is not possible, the driver who hit the unattended vehicle is required to leave a note with the owner can see it, leaving their name and address. Failure to comply with this law is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
  • A.R.S. 28-664: Hitting a sign, pole, or other fixture on the road: A driver who hits a stationary object on a public or private road should try reasonably to locate the owner to let them know what happened. The driver is required to provide their name, address, and registration. They are also required to provide their driver’s license if requested. Failure to comply with this law is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
What are the Penalties for DUI Leaving the Scene?

DUI penalties will vary depending on a number of factors including misdemeanor or felony, BAC level, and prior convictions for DUI violations.

Misdemeanor DUI charges are all categorized as Class 1 misdemeanors which exposes a person to the following:

  • 10 days to 180 days in prison;
  • Fines, fees and assessments of $4000.00;
  • Revocation of driver’s license;
  • IID for 2 years;
  • Drug or alcohol education and screening program;
  • Possible community service, or restitution if it applies

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an accident will vary depending on whether it was an injury accident, a fatal accident, nature of the injury, property damage only, and which driver caused the accident.

  • Leaving the scene of serious injury or fatal accident caused by that driver - Class 2 felony. Sentencing includes 4 years minimum and 10 years maximum prison terms not including mitigating or aggravated sentencing; Fines up to $150,000.00; fees and assessments; 7
  • Leaving the scene of serious injury or fatal accident - Class 3 felony. Penalties include 2.5 minimum and 7 years maximum prison terms not including mitigating or aggravated sentencing; Fines up to $150,000.00; fees and assessments; restitution, and other penalties the court deems necessary.
  • Failing to provide assistance or secure emergency medical help Class 6 felony - Penalties include 6 months minimum and 1.5 years maximum prison terms not including mitigating or aggravated sentencing; Fines up to $150,000.00; fees and assessments; restitution, and other penalties the court deems necessary.
  • Accidents involving an injury that is not serious or fatal – Class 5 felony - Penalties include 9 months minimum and 2 years maximum prison terms not including mitigating or aggravated sentencing; Fines up to $150,000.00; fees and assessments; restitution, and other penalties the court deems necessary.
  • Accidents involving vehicle damage only - Class 2 misdemeanor – Penalties includes 4 month jail terms, fines of up to $2,500.00, restitution, probation and other penalties ordered by the court.
  • Accidents involving parked vehicle or fixture on private or public property. Class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties includes 30 day jail terms, fines of up to $2,500.00, restitution, probation and other penalties ordered by the court.
  • Failing to provide name, address, registration and driver’s license – Class 3 misdemeanor. . Class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties includes 30 day jail terms, fines of up to $2,500.00, restitution, probation and other penalties ordered by the court.
Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI Leaving the Scene Charges

Any of these situations will result in criminal charges. The state and egregiously prosecutes those involved in DUI hit and run accidents of this nature. It is important that you consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you face DUI hit and run charges. James Novak of The Law Office of James Novak is a former Maricopa County prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney. Call James Novak today to find out how he can help you resolve your charges at (480) 413-1499 or complete our on-line contact form and speak with Attorney, James Novak.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
★★★★★
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
★★★★★
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.