Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Hit & Run)
When you’re involved in an accident, it’s your legal obligation to stop at the scene. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges. However, immediately following an auto accident, you aren’t always thinking straight. Maybe you didn’t have a valid license and you panicked or perhaps you didn’t even realize you caused an accident. Regardless of the specifics—we can help.
There are many different possible explanations for why you left the scene of an accident. While none of them are likely to excuse your oversight, they can help explain it. There might have been a perfectly logical reason for you driving away. But no matter how logical it seemed at the time, leaving the scene of an accident in New York can and likely will result in a Hit and Run charge.Charged with a crime in New York? Please call (888) 435-4744.
No matter how serious the accident was, you are required by law to stop and exchange information with the other driver, providing help if needed until the police or medics arrive. Even if there were no physical injuries and only property damage, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious criminal charge.
New York Hit and Run – Laws & Penalties
The legal consequences you face for a New York hit and run charge are dependent on the seriousness of the accident.
Hit and Run with Property Damage
If there were no injuries in the accident and only the vehicles or other property was damaged, leaving the scene of the accident will result in a traffic infraction. Such an infraction could carry up to 15 days in jail, though this maximum sentence is unlikely unless the damage caused was extensive.
Hit and Run With Injury Accidents
If someone was hurt in the accident you will face a criminal charge. In general, a hit and run charge is considered an A Misdemeanor charge. This criminal classification carries up to 1 year in jail and fines reaching $1,000.
However, if you’ve ever been charged with hit & run before, you will face an E Felony and a potential 4 year prison sentence with fines reaching $2,500.
Ref: NY State Law 22.600
If you drove away from an accident, you may have thought you were making the right decision. But even if you had an active warrant or a suspended license, leaving the scene of a traffic accident only serves to make matters worse.
If you’ve been charged with hit and run or if you think a charge is imminent, discussing your options with a local defense lawyer is a step in the right direction.