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Most traffic offenses are civil matters, but some result in criminal charges. If convicted, you could do jail time. Even if the judge does not send you to jail, you will have a criminal record that follows you forever.
Do not assume you can handle a criminal traffic charge without help from a seasoned attorney. A New River vehicular crimes lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can explore every possible defense and work to protect your future.
Arizona laws designate many traffic-related offenses as crimes rather than civil offenses. Some people are used to handling traffic violations without professional assistance, but doing so is unwise if the charge carries criminal penalties. Our local vehicular crimes attorneys can challenge the prosecutor’s proof, present mitigating evidence, and secure a favorable result.
Intentionally using a vehicle to injure or harm someone is vehicular assault, a Class 3 felony. The crime is aggravated vehicular assault—a Class 2 felony—if the alleged victim of the assault is a police officer or someone under 15 years old.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The minimum jail sentence for a first offender is ten days, and although a judge could suspend nine days of the sentence, an offender must serve at least 24 hours. The minimum sentence increases to 90 days for a second DUI within seven years, and the offender must serve a minimum of 30 days.
A third DUI within seven years of a second conviction results in a felony charge. A second offense could also merit felony charges if the driver had a suspended license, was driving the wrong way on the road, or had a passenger under 14 in the vehicle.
According to Arizona Revised Statute §13-1201, putting another person in danger is a crime. Someone driving recklessly could face an endangerment charge. Vehicular endangerment is a Class 1 misdemeanor if the conduct risks injury to another person and a Class 6 felony if the conduct risks someone’s death.
Driving at a speed exceeding 85 miles per hour on any road in the state could lead to a criminal speeding charge. A person also could face criminal speeding charges if they drive over 35 miles per hour in a school zone or exceed a posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour in a business or residential zone. This crime is a Class 3 misdemeanor that could lead to up to 30 days in jail.
Arizona Revised Statute §28-661 describes the crime of leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to render aid and provide identification and insurance information. A hit and run is a Class 5 felony if no one was injured, a Class 3 felony if someone was hurt or killed, and a Class 2 felony if the driver caused an accident and fled.
Driving with a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction, an offender could face up to six months in jail.
Knowingly or intentionally fleeing from the police in a vehicle is a Class 5 felony. A conviction could result in up to two years in prison.
Causing someone’s death through negligent vehicle operation could lead to a negligent homicide charge, a Class 4 felony leading to prison time of 18 months to three years.
Knowingly or recklessly causing someone’s death is manslaughter, and Arizona considers a vehicle a dangerous weapon. A driver could face vehicular manslaughter charges if someone dies because the driver was operating at excessive speed, under the influence, or driving recklessly. The crime is a Class 2 felony leading to a prison sentence of up to 21 years.
Regardless of the specific vehicular crime a person faces, they need skilled representation from a New River lawyer to contest the charges.
Our seasoned attorneys in New River recognize that every situation is unique and tailor the defense to the vehicular crime charge. Some defenses center on questioning the prosecutor’s evidence for the elements of the charge. Other defenses could be effective in many circumstances.
For example, if a driver’s speed was a factor in the charge, the defense could question how the police maintained and calibrated the speed detection device and the officer’s competency in using it. Similar defenses can successfully challenge the reliability of blood alcohol testing in DUI cases.
In any criminal case, legal counsel must review whether law enforcement officials respected the accused’s Constitutional and civil rights. If the officers made an improper traffic stop, conducted an illegal search, failed to inform the accused of their rights, or violated proper procedures in other ways, a New River lawyer could convince a prosecutor to withdraw the vehicular crime charge or ask a judge to dismiss it.
If you face a criminal charge related to your operation of a vehicle, you must take it seriously. You face jail time, stiff fines, and a criminal record that will follow you forever.
A New River vehicular crimes lawyer knows how to fight for a favorable resolution of the charges. Discuss your case with a seasoned attorney from Grand Canyon Law Group today.