When there is a motor vehicle accident, parties are expected to immediately respond to the accident and respond to any injuries or procedures that state law requires. This means staying at the scene of the accident and providing assistance and/or calls for assistance that might help another party. Obviously if you’re injured yourself and moving or responding would jeopardize your health, it’s not required, but we’ll get into that later under defenses.
What happens if you collide with an unattended (parked) vehicle? You’re STILL required to make a “reasonable effort” to contact the owner of the vehicle and report the accident to the proper authorities. For example, you could get the license plate number of the parked car and/or leave a written notice that contains your contact information.
The moral of the story here is that if you in some way collide with another vehicle either on the road or a parked car in a parking lot or some other location you must remain at the scene. You can’t just drive away and pretend it never happens. People who are charged with leaving the scene of an accident are charged with doing just that.
There can be severe legal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, especially if the accident resulted in serious injury or death to another driver on the road. Sometimes if the accident is less serious and causes minimal damage to property alone, the offending party will receive a traffic ticket instead. In the bulk of the cases, these are criminal charges that follow.
For minor accidents that resulted in no injury and only damage to property, it might be a traffic offense (such as when you hit a parked car and barely cause any damage but still leave), sometimes they’ll be a misdemeanor offense, and in the worst case scenarios, you’re facing felony leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run). For felony hit and run, you’re looking at possible prison time, huge fines between $5,000 and $20,000, and a felony on your record. A felony on your record will result in severe consequences both now and in the future. It’s vital that you obtain a lawyer who can attempt to reduce hit and run felony to a lesser charge so that you aren’t left with a lifetime felony record. Even a misdemeanor hit and run can result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
You might also lose your driver’s license. This can obstruct your ability to keep a job, take care of daily activities, and of course, cause major inconvenience in your life. No one should enter a guilty plea to a hit and run charge without seeking legal advice.
Believe it or not, a veteran lawyer can very easily defend your charges, even in the worst possible scenario. For example, a common defense for a hit and run is that the party who left the scene was injured and/or in need of assistance themselves or was injured enough so that their judgment and clarity was clouded and resulted in them leaving the scene. It doesn’t always work, but we’ve used that defense before to great success.
There are a number of defenses that we can use to help you avoid felony and misdemeanor charges in a hit and run incident. You may feel like things are hopeless right now, but we can help!
Our seasoned veteran lawyers will take on your case and aggressively defend your reasons for leaving the scene of an accident. We realize that any car accident is stressful to someone, even if they weren’t injured. It might have caused emotional damages to you that clouded your judgment. Whatever your reasons for leaving the scene of an accident, we can help. But we can’t help you if you don’t give us a call and set up a free consultation. Call our law offices today and let us win your case for you.