Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in property damage, the law requires you to report it to the other driver or law enforcement immediately.
Defending the Charge of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident
Car accidents happen, and sometimes it is difficult to know who caused the accident or how it occurred. You may feel startled and distressed if you are involved in an accident resulting in property damage. People do not act perfectly or think clearly when in shock and potentially injured; however, there is a duty to stop at the accident scene and provide information according to the law. If you are accused of leaving the scene of a property damage accident, even if the allegation is untrue, it would be in your best interest to hire an experienced defense attorney for these charges.
At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we understand that you may have left the scene of an accident for many reasons. Under some circumstances, a lenient plea agreement or an outright dismissal of the charges is possible. Although our team always aims to get charges dismissed and have a case thrown out of court, there are also times when the evidence is overwhelming, and a negotiated plea is advisable. No matter the circumstances, we can always find a way to help a client and protect your future.
What is Considered Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident?
Michigan law prohibits and punishes persons involved in an accident if they fail to stop and provide the required information to the other driver or the closest police department. The law requires a driver who has reason to believe that they were in an accident with a person, vehicle, or building to stop immediately at the accident scene, in a place not obstructing traffic if possible, and remain until they:
- Give their name, address, and vehicle’s registration number to a police officer or the other person involved in the accident;
- Show their driver’s license to a police officer or the other person involved in the accident; and
- Assist anyone injured in the accident with getting medical aid or transportation to a medical facility.
If someone involved in an accident reasonably believes that remaining at the scene will cause further harm, they can leave but immediately report the accident to the nearest police agency.
What are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage is a misdemeanor in Michigan. Suppose an individual violates the law by failing to report the necessary information before leaving the scene of a property damage accident. In that case, the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, up to two (2) years of probation, and a fine of not more than $100.00. A conviction for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident also leads to six (6) points on your driver’s record, increased insurance costs, and possibly the suspension of your driver’s license, depending on your record. If there was an injury accident, the penalties can include longer terms of incarceration and probation.
What to Do If You Didn’t Stop at the Scene of an Accident
If you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident or are fearful that you will be, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. Having a good attorney advocate for you and stand by your side can ensure that your rights are protected. Well-versed criminal defense attorneys, like those with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., will be familiar with police practices, how best to negotiate with prosecutors, and ultimately how to get the best result for your case.
If the police haven’t filed charges in court yet, our attorneys can represent you on a pre-charge basis and proactively negotiate for an out-of-court settlement with the officers or prosecutor. We have helped countless clients avoid charges through preemptive legal representation and strong advocacy.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident Charges
Is leaving the scene of an accident a felony?
It depends. Leaving the scene of a property damage accident is a misdemeanor, not a felony; however, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident?
The penalties for leaving the scene of a property damage accident are up to 93 days in jail, two (2) years of probation, and fines and costs.
What happens if you leave the scene of an accident?
If you leave the scene of a property damage accident, it is unlikely the police will believe your version of the events. Furthermore, you might face misdemeanor charges potentially resulting in jail, probation, and heafty fines. If you’ve left the scene of an accident, it is best to retain counsel right away to help you mitigate or potentially avoid criminal charges.
Can a passenger leave the scene of an accident?
Yes, a passenger can leave the scene of an accident.
What constitutes leaving the scene of an accident?
Driving away from an accident, even briefly, constitutes Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident. If you reasonably feel that staying at an accident could result in more significant damage or danger, you are permitted to drive a safe distance away. If it is not safe to remain at the scene of an accident and you go a distance away for your safety, it is best to call the police immediately and report the accident and the perceived danger.
What is considered leaving the scene of an accident?
Driving away or abandoning your vehicle following a property damage accident constitutes leaving the scene of an accident. Michigan law requires you to immediately stop in a safe location following a property damage accident.
If I left an accident scene and there was an injury, is that more serious?
Leaving the scene of an injury accident carries more severe direct and collateral penalties.
Top Defense Attorneys for Personal Property Accident Charges
The team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will zealously and vigorously defend you on Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident. They have decades of experience successfully defending clients against these charges. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will execute several strategies to protect your rights and preserve your freedom and record. We offer a free consultation, so call us today to see how we can help!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.