What does it mean to injure or prevent the operation of a vehicle?

A.R.S. 28-1522 is the statute that addresses this violation. Click the link to read the statute in its entirety. Here, we are going to sum up in layman’s terms what this means.

You can’t knowingly break or remove part of a vehicle without the consent of the owner. For example, do not smash the windshield of your ex’s car with a baseball bat.

You can’t knowingly AND maliciously interfere with the operation of a vehicle. Note that this requires that you both know you are interfering with the operation of a vehicle and also do so maliciously. For example, do not slash the tires on your ex’s car.

You can’t climb into, or onto, a vehicle with the intent to commit a crime or damage the vehicle without the owner’s consent. For example, do not jump onto the hood of a moving vehicle and obscure the driver’s view.

If a vehicle is stopped and unattended, don’t try to start it, release the brakes, set it in motion or otherwise mess with any other mechanism of the vehicle. For example, do not release the parking brake of an unattended car, put it in neutral and relocate it.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. As with many statutes, there is an emergency exception. See 28-1522(B). You can do the above in an emergency if it is an issue of public safety, or if a police officer tells you to do it.

What are the consequences of injuring or preventing the operation of a vehicle?

This violation is a class 3 misdemeanor, the same as excessive speed. A class 3 misdemeanor carries the potential for up to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines, plus surcharges which can nearly double the fines.

Have you been charged with injuring or preventing the operation of a vehicle?