Look Out Below! Why It’s Illegal to Drop Things from an Overpass

overpass with blue sky - illegal to drop object off overpass

Look Out Below! Why It’s Illegal to Drop Things from an Overpass

When an object is thrown or dropped off of an overpass, it can wreak havoc down below—it can even be deadly. Objects that fall from heights can cause serious property damage as well as serious or fatal injuries. That’s why it is illegal in Arizona to drop an object off an overpass. Anybody who breaks this law could face severe consequences, including jail or prison time. 

Falling Objects Are Very Dangerous 

It is extremely dangerous to drop something off an overpass. No matter the type or size of the falling object, it can cause serious harm to the people or vehicles passing underneath. It’s always dangerous, even if the road is empty. 

  • If a falling object hits a person, it can cause severe injuries like broken bones or concussions—it could even cause a death. 
  • The impact from a falling object on a motor vehicle may cause damage to the car, cause it to stop in the middle of the road, skid off the road, or deflect the object toward another vehicle. It could even smash through the vehicle, harming the occupants inside.
  • Objects thrown from an overpass onto a vacant street can also cause damage. If the object is large enough, it could impede traffic by forcing drivers to stop or cause accidents when a driver does not stop fast enough. It could also damage the roadway itself, or scatter dangerous debris onto the road.

The Consequences of Dropping an Object from an Overpass

In Arizona, an overpass can be a bridge, crossing, or other structure that allows a person or vehicle to cross over a road, street, footpath, or highway. Whether you drop the object intentionally or accidentally, you could be facing criminal charges.

When a person fails to notice that their actions could cause injury or death, they can be charged with criminal negligence. Sending an object over the side of an overpass is a class one misdemeanor. This class of misdemeanors is the harshest. Along with the possibility of six months in jail, penalties can include up to $2,500 in fines, along with other expenses like court fees and reparations.

But those are only the consequences if there was no significant property damage and no injuries or deaths. In cases where the property damage is high, criminal damage can be charged along with criminal negligence. If there is a significant injury or a death, the charges could include assault, manslaughter, or even murder. The penalties for these crimes can range from a class 1 misdemeanor all the way up to a class 1 felony.  

A Good Lawyer Won’t Drop the Ball 

From time spent behind bars to trouble finding a job after you’ve served your time, a criminal conviction can change your life. So if you are facing criminal charges, you need a good lawyer. They will be able to explain the consequences associated with your charges and help you build a strong defense. 

Picking the right lawyer means choosing one with the experience necessary to help you win your case. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of successful experience defending his clients in Arizona. If you have been charged with criminal negligence or any other crime, contact us today to schedule a consultation.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/20/23). Photo by Aaron Munoz on Unsplash.