Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Failure to stop at the scene of an accident, or as it is more commonly known—hit and run—is a criminal offense. Depending on the damage or injury that occurs, the penalties for this offense vary. If you find yourself in a situation where you know or have reason to believe that you have been involved in an accident on public or private property, you must stop immediately and remain at the scene of the accident until certain requirements are met.
The requirements are as follows:
- You must give your name and address, the registration number of the vehicle you are operating to a police officer or the individuals (driver or occupants) involved
- You must show your driver’s license to a police office or the individuals (driver or occupants) involved
- You must render any individual injured in the accident reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or arrange for transportation for any injured individual
While stopped, you should ensure that you are not obstructing traffic more than necessary.
If you fail to comply with these requirements, and the accident results in serious impairment of a body function, you could be guilty of a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 plus additional costs. If the accident results in death, then you could be guilty of a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 plus additional costs.
However, failing to stop at the scene of an accident is not always a felony. If you fail to comply with the requirements, and you’re involved in an accident resulting ininjury to an individual, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine plus additional costs. Finally, if you’re involved in an accident resulting indamage to a vehicle, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $100 plus additional costs.
There is more than just the potential for incarceration and fines to consider in a case involving failing to stop at an accident—there are also driver’s license sanctions imposed by the Secretary of State upon conviction. The impact on your driver’s license can vary depending on what occurred. The sanctions range from a revocation of your license, to a 90-day suspension, to no licensing action. In any scenario, however, a conviction for failing to stop at an accident will result in 6 points on your license.
It is important to have an attorney who understands the possible penalties and impacts on your driver’s license if you are facing a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. There may be possible defenses, or it may be possible to enter a plea where there is a favorable resolution. For instance, failure to report an accident covers much of the same conduct but will not result in any points on your driver’s license.
If you find yourself facing a criminal charge after leaving the scene of an accident, you will need effective legal representation. Call Blanchard Law to speak with an attorney with the knowledge and experience to assist you.