Defending Leaving an Accident Charges – Michigan Defense Attorneys
Kronzek & Cronkright accepts criminal defense clients from everywhere in Michigan, including in Wayne, Oakland, Ingham, Jackson, Kent, Macomb and Midland Counties. Our staff and attorneys are on call 24/7 to assist you in case of emergencies. Very often, time is of the essence in that persons who have left the scene of an accident need immediate legal advice. We offer immediate consultations in most instances.
When someone gets into a traffic accident, the first reaction may be to leave the scene of the collision so as not to get caught. This reaction may be strongest when they know they have been drinking or using drugs and are afraid of getting arrested and charged with drunk or drugged driving. Sometimes, a driver decides to leave the scene of the accident to sober up. However, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense under Michigan law and is aggressively prosecuted in death and injury cases.
If you or a loved one has left the scene of an accident, it is best to consult with and retain a criminal defense attorney familiar with Michigan laws immediately. We can help you figure out what to do next and how to mitigate an already difficult situation.
In general, when a driver knows or has reason to know that they have been in a car accident, regardless of whether they think they were at fault for the accident, the driver must stay at the scene of the accident long enough to provide the police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which they collided their name and address; the registration number of their vehicle; the name and address of the owner of the vehicle; and a chance to view their driver’s license. The driver must also reasonably help any person injured in the accident to obtain medical aid or arrange for or provide their transportation. However, if the driver feels that staying at the scene of the accident would cause additional harm, they may leave the scene but must immediately notify the police of the accident.
Those drivers who do not follow this law could be charged with the crime of leaving the scene of an accident. The possible penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary depending on the severity of the accident:
- If the accident involves only property damage, the driver could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $100, or both.
- If the accident involves a personal injury of any party, the driver could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If convicted, the person’s driver’s license will also be suspended by the Michigan Secretary of State.
- If the accident involves serious impairment of a body function (“a personal injury that is an objectively manifested impairment of an important body function that affects the person’s general ability to a normal life”) or death of a party, the driver could be charged with a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. And, if an investigation reveals that the driver was actually the one at fault, and the accident causes serious impairment of a body function or death, the driver could be charged with a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
If a person thinks they are being investigated for a crime involving leaving the scene of an accident, the best thing they can do is immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer. Our attorneys understand that early intervention in a case can make a significant difference in the outcome. Therefore, our on-call attorneys are often retained after hours and on weekends to assist with an urgent situation. If your situation seems urgent, it is best to call us immediately at 1-866-766-5245.