Hit and Run/Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in all 50 states. When you hit another vehicle or pedestrian, you have a legal obligation to stay at the scene, exchange identification information with the other parties involved, and offer assistance to anyone who has been injured. Failure to do this can result in a hit and run charge which can carry penalties such as jail or prison time, suspension or revocation of driving privileges, fines, and more. The severity of your punishment depends on whether the charges are filed as a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor hit and run charges are usually filed for minor traffic accidents in which little property damage occurred. Felony hit and run charges are more serious
with major property damage or incidents in which others were injured or killed as result of the accident or fleeing the scene without providing aid or failure to report the incident to police.
additional fines and even restitution to the family of the injured or deceased.
A criminal defense attorney will have knowledge of criminal law, traffic law, local procedures prosecutor and court state law enforcement agencies
conduct a proper accident reconstruction and thoroughly interview all vital witnesses in the case.
What to Do After a Traffic Accident
After a traffic collision, it’s natural for fear and panic to kick in. Your instincts may tell you to run and hide to avoid getting into trouble. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “the cover-up is worse than the crime?” This rings true in hit and run cases. .
- Immediately stop at the scene
- Assist anyone who is injured (call 911)
- Notify local law enforcement (police or sheriff’s department)
- Provide and exchange proper identification including your name and address, driver’s license, vehicle registration number, and insurance information
What if I Hit An Unattended Vehicle or Fixture?
If the accident involved an unattended vehicle or a fixture on the highway, then you must stop and attempt to either locate and notify the owner or operator of the unattended vehicle, or in a conspicuous place leave written notice giving their name and address of the owner of the vehicle which was involved in the collision.
Common Reasons for Leaving the Scene of the Accident
There are many reasons why people leave the scene of the accident, and not all of them are bad-natured or malicious. Sometimes it’s panic or fear. Other times it’s the result of medical situations like a head injury or shock. Perhaps a driver honestly didn’t realize or recognize that an accident occurred.
Some of the most common reasons that someone leaves the scene include:
- Driving an unregistered vehicle
- don’t have car insurance
- Not having legal citizenship status in the U.S.
- Driving on a suspended or invalid license
- Driving under the influence
- Existing warrants out for their arrest
- They are transporting illegal drugs or stolen property
death or serious bodily injury and at fault — jail, prison, probation
- “Mistake of fact” – you did not realize that you actually struck another vehicle or person.fender bender when you were backing out of a parking space,or you truly believed there was no damage and simply assumed you were being “waved by” by the vehicle you struck
In regards to the more serious felony crime of striking or injuring another driver or pedestrian in an accident and leaving the scene, many times people do not realize that they actually struck a person. They may believe that they struck an animal, or that somebody “threw something” at their vehicle.
- Feared for your own safety — Unsafe to Remain at Accident — he did not stop because it was late at night in a bad area of town and was worried that he was being “set up” for some type of robbery. fear that the situation will develop into a road rage and escalate into violence.