The Truth about Hit and Run Accidents
If you find yourself involved in an automobile accident in which there is damage to property or injury to a person, leaving the scene of that accident is a serious crime. Depending on the degree of damage, this charge may be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
What you should do at an Accident Scene
A person involved in an accident has a certain responsibility after the fact. To avoid criminal charges, stop your vehicle and provide any proof of insurance or identification you may be asked to produce. If you can, offer and lend aid to any injured people in the accident. Pull off the roadway so as not to block traffic if you can safely do so. If you hit an unoccupied vehicle and the owner cannot be located, leave a note detailing your information, insurance company and the details of the collision. Put that note in an obvious location on the vehicle you have hit. If you fail to follow these guidelines, you may find yourself being arrested by law enforcement and detained until you go before a judge.
Hit and Run Consequences
In most states, if you leave an accident scene that involves injury or death, the consequences could be imprisonment for 2-10 years and is could be considered a third-degree felony. Minor injury to another person could result in a year confined to county lockup, with a fine of up to $5,000.
If you damage an occupied vehicle with no injuries to the occupants, it is usually considered a class c misdemeanor provided that the damage is less than $200. The fine for this could be up to $500. If the damage is over $200, in most cases it moves to a class b misdemeanor, which could also tack on several months in jail in addition to the fine.
What a Hit and Run Conviction Means
A guilty verdict usually means probation as a part of the sentence, particularly for an accident in which no one was killed and provided you have no other convictions on your record. It is also a reasonable certainty that your driving privilege will be revoked, especially for an accident resulting in injury or death.
No matter the circumstances, it is never wise to flee the scene of an accident. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, it is vital to seek legal representation by a lawyer who can explain your options and who will fight in your best interest. Authorities will often rely on eyewitness accounts and physical evidence collected from the accident scene to make their case against you. A good attorney can use those things to benefit your case. Do not try to fight a hit and run accusation on your own. Put your case in the hands of a skilled, experienced attorney.
Mario often writes articles about the consequences of various crimes. Visit his website, Madrid Law, to find more information regarding legal issues.