Hit and run crimes are not taken lightly, and if you are convicted, you can face serious penalties. Here, the legal professionals at Murnane & O’Neill explain what a hit and run is, the penalties if you are convicted and best practices if you are involved in a car accident.
No matter how serious or minor a car accident is, always stop. If you cause an accident, which creates property damage or bodily harm, and fail to stop, properly identify yourself, and render assistance, then you can be charged with a hit and run. This not only applies to highways and roads, but also to parking lots and driveways. So, if you hit a parked car and leave the scene without leaving insurance or personal information, you can be charged. Penalties for such grievances will vary, depending on how serious the accident is.
Even if you only cause property damage in a hit and run accident, the maximum penalty still involves jail time and a fine. The maximum, in this case, would be 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Eight points can also be added to your driving record, which would cause the MVA to revoke your driving privileges.
Causing bodily harm means facing even steeper penalties, and if the harm is severe enough, it will be a felony charge. The most serious consequences for bodily harm include five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine. If someone is killed by the hit and run accident, charges will likely be raised to felony manslaughter, and will bring a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Your license will be revoked in this instance as well.
So, what should you do if you are involved in an accident? As mentioned, always stop, no matter how small the accident seems. Get to a safe location if necessary, and assess the damage. If someone is hurt, call 9-1-1 immediately for medical assistance. Also call the police, and file a police report. This is the best way to ensure an accurate account of the accident is on record. Finally, exchange information with the other driver(s). Make sure to get their name, contact information, and insurance details.
Accidents are stressful, but leaving the scene of one only compounds the stress and consequences. If you have been involved in an accident, let one of our highly-qualified attorneys fight for you. For more information, contact Murnane & O’Neill, Attorneys at Law.