from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No.
LC2015-000467-001 The Honorable Joan M. Sinclair, Judge
Michael Dew Counsel for Real Party in Interest/Appellant
Offenberg Counsel for Petitioner/Appellee
Presiding Judge Randall M. Howe delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Peter B. Swann and Judge Patricia A.
Orozco  joined.
This case presents two questions concerning A.R.S. §
28-672, which creates the class 3 misdemeanor offense of
causing a person serious physical injury by committing
certain traffic violations. First, does the offense require
proof of a culpable mental state? Second, is a person charged
with committing that offense entitled to a jury trial? We
hold that the offense is a strict liability offense that does
not require proof of any culpable mental state. We also hold
that a person is not entitled to a jury trial on a charged
violation of the statute because the offense has no common
law antecedent and is not a sufficiently serious offense to
warrant a jury trial.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
One night in November 2013, Jamie Hernandez-Alejandro stopped
at a stop sign and then proceeded to make a left-hand turn
through the intersection. As he crossed the intersection, his
car hit a scooter, seriously injuring its driver and
passenger. The City of Phoenix charged Hernandez-Alejandro
with violating A.R.S. § 28-672(A)(5). Section
28-672(A)(5) states that a person commits the offense of
causing serious physical injury or death by a moving
violation if the person fails to yield to vehicles that are
within an intersection and that act causes serious physical
injury or death to another person.
Before the bench trial, Hernandez-Alejandro moved to require
the State to prove that he acted "knowingly" under
the statute and moved for a jury trial because the offense
had a common law antecedent entitling him to one. The
municipal court granted the motions and the State sought
special action review from the superior court. The superior
court reversed the municipal court's orders and held that
A.R.S. § 28-672 is a strict liability offense and that
an alleged violation of the statute did not warrant a jury
trial. Hernandez-Alejandro timely appealed.
A.R.S. § 28-672 is a Strict Liability Offense
Hernandez-Alejandro argues that the superior court erred by
finding that A.R.S. § 28-672 is a strict liability
offense. We review the superior court's interpretation of
statutes de novo. See State v. Slayton, 214 Ariz.
511, 513 ¶ 6, 154 P.3d 1057, 1059 (App. 2007). The
superior court did not err because violating A.R.S. §
28-672(A)(5) does not necessarily involve a culpable mental
state, as manifested by its clear legislative intent.
A person commits the offense of causing serious physical
injury or death by a moving violation if the person violates
A.R.S. § 28-773, among other statutes, and the violation
results in an accident causing serious physical injury or
death to another person. A.R.S. § 28-672(A)(5). Section
28-773 states that "[t]he driver of a vehicle shall stop
in obedience to a stop sign . . . and then proceed with
caution yielding to vehicles that are not required to stop
and that are within the intersection or are approaching so
closely as to constitute an immediate hazard."
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-202(B) - which applies to
Title 28 offenses, see A.R.S. § 13-102(D)
-states that "[i]f a statute defining an offense does
not expressly prescribe a culpable mental state that is
sufficient for commission of the offense, no culpable mental
state is required . . . and the offense is one of strict
liability unless the proscribed conduct necessarily involves
a culpable mental state." The statute here, A.R.S.
§ 28-672, does not expressly prescribe a culpable mental
state. The statute describes acts or results that violate the
statute. Section 28-672 lacks any reference to the
person's state of mind, such as "intentionally,
" "knowingly, " "recklessly, " or
"negligently." Moreover, the statute at issue does
not necessarily involve a culpable mental state. Merely
proceeding without caution and failing to yield to other