Traffic Lawyer FAQ: I left the scene of an accident, and have since been ticketed by police, should I call a traffic ticket lawyer?
Leaving the scene of an accident, regardless of how minor it might appear, can carry significant penalties. If you left the scene of an accident, and you were identified and caught by the police, you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense. A situation like this warrants the services of a good traffic ticket lawyer.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
As a Traffic lawyer from a firm like The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt can explain, all states have laws requiring drivers to stop their vehicle after an accident to exchange personal information and insurance details. If any party chooses to call the police, all those involved must wait for them to arrive. Leaving the scene without exchanging information or waiting for police can be serious. A traffic ticket lawyer may explain to you that leaving the scene of an accident can mean:
- You collided with another vehicle and drove off.
- You hit an unoccupied, parked vehicle, and did not attempt to locate the owner.
- You hit a person and left the scene.
- You failed to leave your contact information and insurance details on an unoccupied vehicle.
- You hit an object, or personal property, and left.
In general, after an accident, you should always call the police. They will explain whether or not they will arrive on the scene. If they are coming to the scene, you must wait. If you leave the scene, and do nothing further, it is possible to be summoned to court. You might think that no one saw you so you will be okay. Rest assured, our traffic ticket lawyers know of many cases in which people were found through dash cam footage, eyewitnesses, and surveillance cameras.
Possible Outcomes of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
If you are found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, you may face:
- Fines up to $5,000
- An extra surcharge because you left the scene
- Jail time *when certain circumstances apply
- In some cases, a criminal record
- A suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Points on your driver’s license
- Insurance premium increase
What If You Were Not Responsible?
Regardless of who caused the accident or what happened, if you were involved in it, and you left, you can be ticketed or charged with a misdemeanor (or a felony in some cases). If you did not understand this law, and you thought you didn’t have to stop, call a traffic ticket lawyer as soon as possible.
Is There Any Scenario That Allows a Person To Leave?
In general, there are special provisions that enable a person to leave the scene of an accident without waiting for police or to exchange information. Examples of these scenarios include:
- You feel your safety is at risk (i.e. there is an obvious, clear, and present danger)
- You are in need of immediate medical care
- You don’t have any phone signal and are moving to a place that does
In the event that one of the above holds true, you should call the police to let them know about what is going on. If you’ve been ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident, call a traffic ticket lawyer now.