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Understanding Arkansas Hit and Run and Reckless Driving Laws

Car accidents are an unfortunate part of life and can happen to anyone. In these situations, it’s important to understand the laws and legal obligations that follow.

Specifically, hit and run accidents may involve serious consequences, including criminal charges and civil actions. Additionally, after an accident, drivers have certain legal obligations to follow that can help protect themselves and others.

This article will examine Arkansas hit and run laws, legal obligations, and prohibited driving acts under Arkansas law.

Arkansas Hit and Run Laws

In Arkansas, hit and run accidents are governed by statutes found in Arkansas General Provisions 27-53-102 and 27-53-103. These statutes generally require drivers involved in an accident to stop their vehicle and provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the accident.

Drivers must also exchange identifying information such as names, addresses, and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident.

Hit and run laws in Arkansas also apply to accidents resulting in property damage.

In this case, drivers must stop their vehicle and provide their personal information to the party whose property has been damaged. Failure to comply with hit and run laws can result in both criminal and civil liability.

Penalties for Hit and Run in Arkansas

The penalties for hit and run in Arkansas vary depending on the severity of the accident and whether it involved other criminal acts such as DUI or vehicular homicide. In general, hit and run offenses that result in only property damage are misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Hit and run offenses that result in injury or death are felonies and can carry much harsher penalties. For example, hit and run accidents that cause injury or death may be charged as negligent acts or vehicular homicide, depending on the circumstances.

Negligent acts can result in a sentence of up to six years in prison, while vehicular homicide can result in a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Victims of hit and run accidents may also have the ability to take civil action to recover damages for their injuries or property damage.

Statute of Limitations and Actions to Take after a Hit and Run

After a hit and run accident, it’s important to take action quickly. Victims should immediately call law enforcement and gather as much information as possible about the accident, including eyewitness statements and photos of the damage.

In Arkansas, there is a statute of limitations for bringing civil actions related to hit and run accidents. These statutes generally provide a limited amount of time in which victims can take legal action.

Victims of hit and run accidents should consult with an attorney to determine the appropriate course of action and ensure that they meet any applicable legal deadlines.

Legal Obligations after an Accident

Arkansas law sets out specific legal obligations for drivers involved in accidents that result in property damage, injury, or death. Failure to meet these obligations can result in criminal charges or civil liability.

When an accident results in only property damage, drivers must immediately stop their vehicle and provide identifying information to the other parties involved in the accident. This information should include names, addresses, and insurance information.

Drivers must also immediately report the accident to law enforcement if the damage is over $1,000.

When an accident results in injury or death, drivers must also provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the accident, including calling for medical aid if necessary.

Failure to do so can result in additional criminal charges.

Careless and Prohibited Driving

Arkansas law also prohibits certain careless or prohibited driving acts. For example, reckless driving is prohibited under AR Code 27-51-104 and is defined as driving with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others.” Other prohibited acts may include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, and failing to yield the right of way.


Understanding Arkansas hit and run laws and legal obligations after an accident can help drivers make informed decisions and protect themselves and others from potential harm. By following these laws and obligations, drivers can help ensure that accidents are handled in a responsible and lawful manner.

Additionally, understanding prohibited driving acts can help drivers avoid potentially dangerous situations on the road and protect themselves from criminal charges.

Penalties for Negligent Driving

Negligent driving can result in serious consequences in Arkansas. Reckless driving is one form of negligent driving that can lead to criminal charges and hefty fines.

The penalties for reckless driving in Arkansas are severe, and drivers should understand the potential consequences of this form of negligent driving.

Arkansas Reckless Driving Penalties

Reckless driving in Arkansas is generally defined as driving with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. Some common actions that may constitute reckless driving include excessive speeding, aggressive driving, or failure to yield to pedestrians or other vehicles.

A first-time offender of reckless driving in Arkansas can face penalties of up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. In addition to criminal penalties, offenders may also face increased insurance premiums or other fines associated with the reckless driving offense.

Repeat offenders of reckless driving may face harsher penalties, including bigger fines and longer jail terms.

Additional Charges for Reckless Driving

In some cases, reckless driving charges may result in additional criminal charges, including manslaughter, homicide, or felony charges. For example, if reckless driving leads to a fatal accident, the driver may be charged with vehicular homicide, which can result in decades of imprisonment.

If a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes a fatal accident, they may be charged with negligent homicide, a felony that can lead to life imprisonment. Such charges may be applied if a driver displays an extreme lack of judgment or a risk of harm that resulted in a death.

Arkansas Hit and Run Laws and Careless Prohibited Driving

Arkansas hit and run laws and careless prohibited driving laws may also apply to reckless driving. Hit and run laws require drivers involved in an accident to stop and provide assistance or provide their identifying information to other parties involved in an accident.

In order to be charged with careless prohibited driving, a driver must commit an act of carelessness that creates a risk of injury, death or property damage. For example, the driver may run a red light or fail to signal a lane change.

Charges for careless prohibited driving may vary depending on the situation, including the likelihood of injury or death occurring as a result of the carelessness.

Defenses for Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents can be stressful and confusing. In some cases, drivers may not be aware that they were involved in an accident or may have acted out of reasonable fear for their safety.

If you have been accused of hit and run or any other crime related to a driving incident, it is important to consider your defense options. Valid Defense: Reasonable Fear for Safety

One valid defense for hit and run accidents is that the driver acted out of reasonable fear for their safety.

In other words, if the defendant reasonably believed that they were in danger, they may be able to argue self-defense. This defense may be particularly relevant if the driver did not realize they caused an accident, but instead believed they were being followed or attacked.

Valid Defense: Unawareness of the Accident

Another valid defense for hit and run charges may be lack of knowledge. In some cases, a driver may not be aware they were involved in an accident, or they may not have known that an accident occurred.

A skilled defense attorney can help build a case based on lack of knowledge or awareness, potentially reducing or eliminating any charges.

Choosing the Right Defense Strategy

The right defense strategy depends on the specific circumstances of your case. A skilled defense attorney will work to create a defense option that is tailored to your needs and based on the facts of the case.

A fact-based defense strategy enables the defendant and their legal team to gather any evidence, which supports their version of the story and lays out any weaknesses put forth in the prosecutions case.


Negligent driving can lead to serious charges, including reckless driving and hit and run accidents. Understanding the potential consequences of negligent driving is critical for drivers in Arkansas.

In some cases, there are valid defense options available to drivers accused of these offenses, such as self-defense or a lack of awareness of the accident. Choosing the right defense strategy is crucial in ensuring your legal rights are protected during the case.

In conclusion, drivers in Arkansas must understand the various laws and legal obligations that apply following an accident. Hit and run laws and reckless driving laws can result in criminal charges, hefty fines, and increased insurance premiums.

Furthermore, hit and run accidents can lead to additional criminal charges such as vehicular homicide or manslaughter. Choosing the right defense strategy is crucial if you are accused of a driving-related offense, and there may be valid defense options available.

Overall, it is essential to prioritize safe driving practices and understand the consequences of negligent driving in Arkansas.

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