A.R.S. 28-672 in a Nutshell:
A.R.S. 28-672 basically takes a number of civil traffic violations and adds a misdemeanor violation if another human besides the driver is receives a serious physical injury or is killed. For example, if you run a red light and collide with another vehicle, and the other driver is seriously physically injured, you could be charged with a misdemeanor instead of just a red light violation.
A critical part of this statute is what is meant by a “serious physical injury”. To answer that, we look to A.R.S. 13-105, which defines a serious physical injury as a “physical injury that creates a reasonable risk of death, or that causes serious and permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of health or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb.” In typical legislative fashion, this definition is quite broad, including death at one end of the spectrum and probably including something relatively minor (in comparison to death) like a broken arm on the other end of the spectrum.
This charge is different from other misdemeanor charges in that it may be brought up to two years after the “actual discovery of the offense” by the State. Most misdemeanor charges must be brought within one year of the date of the violation.
If you are convicted of a violation of A.R.S. 28-672, you could suffer the following consequences:
A class 1 misdemeanor conviction, which carries the potential for up to six months in jail, and $2,500 in fines plus surcharges, which would nearly double the fine.
A license suspension: For a first time conviction, the suspension could be up to 6 months for a serious physical injury, and up to 1 year if the accident caused a death. For a second (or more) conviction, the suspension shall be 6 months for a serious physical injury, and shall be 1 year for a death. This suspension runs consecutively (not concurrently) with any other suspensions that arise from the accident. For example, if the points from the accident cause a 3 month suspension do to too many points, the suspension under this statute won’t start until the other suspension has run.
Points on your license: If the accident caused serious physical injury but not death, this is a 4 point violation. If the accident caused death, this is a 6 point violation.
Restitution: Restitution is money the defendant is ordered to pay the victim to compensate the victim for losses. Restitution under this statute is not to exceed $100,000.00.
If you are charged under this statute, you will also be charged with some underlying moving violation. Your defense will revolve around whether or not you committed the underlying violation. In other words, ideally you can make an argument that you did not commit the underlying violation. Secondarily, depending on the nature of the injuries, you might be able to argue that the victim was not in fact seriously physically injured.
This statute does contain an interesting provision that if the victim appears before the court and states that the costs of their injuries have been paid, the court shall dismiss the charge. So if you have a good insurance carrier, that could go a long way towards resolving the case.
The actual language of A.R.S. 28-672:
A. A person is guilty of causing serious physical injury or death by a moving violation if the person violates any one of the following and the violation results in an accident causing serious physical injury or death to another person:
1. Section 28-645, subsection A, paragraph 3, subdivision (a).
2. Section 28-729.
3. Section 28-771.
4. Section 28-772.
5. Section 28-773.
6. Section 28-792.
7. Section 28-794.
8. Section 28-797, subsection F, G, H or I.
9. Section 28-855, subsection B.
10. Section 28-857, subsection A.
B. A person who violates this section shall attend and successfully complete traffic survival school educational sessions that are designed to improve the safety and habits of drivers and that are approved by the department. In addition, the court may order the person to perform community restitution.
C. The court shall report a conviction for a violation of this section to the department and:
1. For a first violation of this section, may direct the department to suspend the person’s driving privilege for not more than one hundred eighty days if the violation results in serious physical injury and not more than one year if the violation results in death.
2. For a second or subsequent violation of this section within a period of thirty-six months, shall direct the department to suspend the person’s driving privilege for one hundred eighty days if the violation results in serious physical injury and one year if the violation results in death.
D. If a person’s driving privilege is suspended pursuant to any other statute because of an incident involving a violation of this section, the suspension period prescribed in subsection C of this section shall run consecutively with the other suspension period.
E. If a person fails to successfully complete traffic survival school educational sessions or perform community restitution pursuant to this section, the court shall notify the department and the department shall promptly suspend the driver license or permit of the driver or the privilege of a nonresident to drive a motor vehicle in this state until the order is satisfied.
F. If the person who suffers serious physical injury as a result of a violation of this section appears before the court in which the action is pending at any time before trial and acknowledges receipt of satisfaction for the injury, on payment of the costs incurred, the court shall order that the prosecution be dismissed and the defendant be discharged. The reasons for the order shall be set forth and entered of record, and the order shall be a bar to another prosecution for the same offense.
G. Restitution awarded pursuant to section 13-603 as a result of a violation of this section shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars.
H. A prosecution for a violation of this section must be commenced within two years after actual discovery of the offense by the state or the political subdivision having jurisdiction or discovery by the state or the political subdivision that should have occurred with the exercise of reasonable diligence, whichever first occurs.
I. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
J. For the purposes of this section, “serious physical injury” has the same meaning prescribed in section 13-105.