You're driving on the interstate and another driver cuts you off. You slam on your brakes. You're angry at that bad driver for putting you in harm's way. What you do next can affect the rest of your life, especially if you respond aggressively in violation of Arizona's criminal road rage laws.
You could be sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence if you are convicted for engaging in road rage. Even if you are guilty, you need to understand and aggressively defend against the charges you face. The first step in defending yourself is to understand the possible consequences of road rage and further, how to defend yourself.
What's Considered Road Rage in Arizona?
There is no specific crime called road rage. But a road rage event could be prosecuted in many different ways depending upon the facts. On the less serious side, a motorist might be charged with aggressive driving, reckless driving or some other traffic related type offense. These are misdemeanors.
However, if the exchange between the motorists becomes more extreme, felony charges could be involved. There could be a charge of disorderly conduct with a weapon (a car driven in an unsafe way can be classified under Arizona law as a dangerous instrument or weapon). There could be a charge for endangerment. On the more serious end, there could be a charge for aggravated assault with a weapon (a conviction for this offense would involve mandatory prison).
Suggested Responses to Road Rage
Of course, the best response to an aggressive motorist would be to ignore the provocation and disengage. But oftentimes, the victimized motorist feels like they must do something to protect themselves.
Sometimes, the motorist can pull over, go to a safe public spot or call law enforcement and report the misconduct. But sometimes the incident is more immediate and an emergency defensive response is unfortunately necessary.
Arizona has strong self-defense laws. More specifically, Arizona has a law called defensive display of a weapon. This is a justification defense that allows a person to display or expose a weapon to protect against deadly force. But to take advantage of that law, the person must not have initially provoked or created the problem. Also any display must be reasonable under the circumstances.
Choose the Right Arizona Lawyer for Road Rage Cases
If you, a friend or relative have been arrested for a road rage type experience our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to assist you. Call our Flagstaff office or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can defend you. We also invite you to order our free book to further educate yourself about the Arizona criminal justice system.