If you were charged by the police for leaving the scene of an accident, you may be facing serious repercussions if you are found guilty. It’s important for your future to vigorously defend yourself with a seasoned lawyer. Leaving the scene of an accident in which you were involved is illegal in every state. In most instances, though it may be considered a misdemeanor rather than a felony, this is not always the case. Regardless, it is a charge that can have long ranging and severe consequences. If found guilty, you may be facing jail time as well as exorbitant fines, as a car accident lawyer in Houston, TX, from a law firm like John K. Zaid & Associates can explain.
What is considered leaving the scene of an accident?
The laws vary somewhat from one state to the next, and sometimes regionally as well. However, there are certain requirements that hold true across the board. For instance, if your vehicle and another vehicle collide, and damage to either of your vehicles results, you must stop your vehicle to exchange contact information and insurance policy information. If either of you choose to call the police, you must both remain on location until they arrive or until or unless the police notify you otherwise. For example, in some cities if there is a snowstorm, due to the number of minor collisions that typically result, the police department may issue a citywide notice that unless someone is hurt in a collision, the participants should exchange insurance information and contact information but do not need to wait for a police officer to arrive on scene. Note that the participants must always stop and exchange information with one another, even if they do not have to wait for the police.
Failure to adhere to the above requirements can result in serious consequences. The police may be able to track you down based on your license plate number and/or the description of you or your vehicle. The charge of leaving the scene of an accident may refer to any of the following:
- You collided with an unoccupied vehicle with your vehicle but did not leave a note with your contact information and insurance information.
- You collided with another vehicle and drove off without stopping to exchange information.
- You collided with a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or a pedestrian, you drove off without stopping to exchange information.
- You collided with a structure or other property and did not leave a note with your contact information and insurance information or try to track down the owner immediately.
What are the possible consequences of leaving the scene of an accident?
A conviction of this charge may result in one or more of the following consequences:
- A mandatory fine of up to $5,000.
- A charge of leaving the scene on your criminal record.
- Jail time.
- The temporary suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
- Points on your driving record.
- An increase in the cost of your motor vehicle insurance.