According to data compiled by the Arizona Department of Transportation, more than 100,000 car accidents occur in the state every year. Unfortunately, many of these accidents result in serious physical harm or death to pedestrians, passengers and motorists. It is for this reason that Arizona has a statute that references the legal ramifications that drivers face in the event that they cause a serious accident by violating state traffic laws.
A.R.S. § 28-672
According to Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 28, a person who violates a state traffic law, which causes serious physical injury or death to another person, may be charged with a criminal offense.
Defining “serious physical injury”
Statutory law defines “serious physical injury” as an injury that creates a reasonable risk of death, or that causes serious and permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or loss of protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb.
In order to be arrested, charged and possibly convicted of A.R.S. § 28-672, a person must first be found guilty of committing at least one of several specific moving violations. A moving violation refers to an Arizona traffic law that is violated while an individual's vehicle is in motion. One of the following moving violations must be committed in order to be convicted:
Stop sign/yield sign violation
As most motorists know, drivers are required to make an erect stop upon approaching a stop sign. Some drivers merely slow down and drive through an intersection without making a complete stop at a stop sign. If another driver is harmed or killed as a result of violating this traffic law, a person may be charged with this crime.
Yield signs require drivers to yield the right of way to other vehicles. If a driver does not yield, he or she may cause a collision. Any harm inflicted on another driver could result in a criminal charge.
School bus sign violation
All Arizona drivers are required to stop their vehicle before reaching a school bus if the bus is displaying a signal or flashing lights. In the event that a school bus is making a stop, a driver must wait until all children have exited and the school bus is back in motion before he or she can continue driving. If a student or any other person is hurt as a consequence of the violation of this traffic law, a driver may be found guilty of this offense.
Vehicle intersection violation
This violation occurs when a motorist approaches a four-way stop at approximately the same time as another vehicle from a different street. The vehicle on the right has the right-of-way, therefore, if you are on the left and go away, you are guilty of this offense.
This law also applies to those exiting the highway onto the main street. People who are driving on the terminating street or highway must yield to the vehicles that are traveling on the continuing highway.
Some of the other violations that would violate Arizona statute A.R.S. § 28-672 are:
- Failing to exercise due care and caution towards pedestrians;
- Failing to stop at a red light;
- Recklessly changing lanes and violating lane direction signs;
- Failing to follow school crossing laws; and
- Failing to show due caution for disabled persons or children on the roadways.
Penalties for Violating a Traffic Law that Results in Death or Serious Physical Injury
A violation of this law is a class 3 misdemeanor, which carries penalties of a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail, one year of probation and up to $1,000 in fines.
In addition to these penalties, a driver who has acquired these charges is required to attend and completely finish traffic survival school. A judge may also order that a driver perform community service. A driver's license may be suspended for up to 90 days in cases when victims suffer serious physical injury, while cases involving death result in a 180-day license suspension.
Subsequent crimes of this nature result in harsher penalties.
Experienced Arizona Traffic Attorneys
If you have been accused of any of the moving violations applicable to A.R.S. § 28-672, you should consult with an attorney immediately. With the help of skilled legal representation, the likelihood of getting these charges reduced or even completely dismissed are maximized. Contact the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today for a consultation.