Consequences of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
December 18, 2019
The tension and fear that arise immediately after a car accident can make a diver want to get out of there and not look back. While it may satisfy the instinct to escape the consequences of the accident, a dramatic getaway is not advisable. In fact, the act of leaving the accident scene is a crime, even if you are not found responsible.
Why Drivers Flee
There are many reasons drivers leave the accident scene. Generally, they do not want to deal with the fallout of the accident, but there may be more involved. Their decision to leave could be an attempt to hide evidence that the accident was their fault. For example, the fleeing driver could be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Likewise, the driver may be hiding the fact that they lack a valid driver’s license. Sometimes drivers simply flee out of fear or a sense that they do not want to be held responsible for the accident.
Hit and Run is a Crime
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. If you make the impulsive decision to flee after the accident, you should reconsider. Turning yourself in to the authorities is your only course of action that will show your intentions to do the right thing. If it is not clear who was at-fault in your accident, you will be viewed better in any potential criminal proceedings if you own up to your involvement without being chased down.
After assessing the scene and getting information about the accident, responding officers will surely set out to find you. They are likely to issue a warrant for your arrest. They can use witness accounts and surveillance footage of the area surrounding the accident scene to track you down. Your punishment is likely to take into consideration whether you showed remorse and accepted responsibility, or if you hid out hoping to get away with a crime.
If the accident results in property damage alone, the criminal charge associated with leaving the scene will likely be a misdemeanor. Though less serious than a felony charge, a misdemeanor can carry possible jail time and a fine up to $1,000.
If a person was injured or killed in an accident you caused, you could be charged much more harshly. Besides the charges for the harm caused in the accident itself, your choice to leave the scene could result in a felony charge. A felony count of leaving the scene of an accident could result in incarceration and fines up to $10,000.
West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Represent Those Wrongfully Charged
If you are being charged with a crime after a hit-and-run accident, speak to a West Chester criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes today. We can help you fight the charges against you. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-431-7900 to learn more. From our office in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.