A person may be charged with “leaving the scene of an accident” without reporting it, even though that person may not have been aware that an accident had ever occurred; or even if known, that person did not report it properly.
Although this is a Vehicle and Traffic Law offense, it is a criminal charge and if convicted, it can result in a permanent criminal record:
- Property damage only = Criminal violation, punishable up to a $250 fine and/or up to 15 days Jail.
- Physical injury to another person = Class B misdemeanor, punishable up to a $500 fine and/or up to 90 days Jail
- 2nd offense with physical injury = Class A misdemeanor, punishable up toa $1000 fine and/or up to 1 year Jail
- Serious physical injury to another person = Class E felony, punishable up to $2000 fine and/or 4 years prison
- Death of another person = Class D felony, punishable up to $5000 fine and/or up to 7 years Prison
Besides criminal charges, you may face an increased risk of a civil lawsuit depending on how your criminal case is handled. This risk could be a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, both of which can result in substantial financial liability.
In addition, your car insurance company may investigate and determine that your accident claim will not be covered under your policy because of failed or improper notification of the accident to the insurance company.
Furthermore, your insurance claim may not be covered, in part or full, because of information in the police report or any statements given to the police that prove your inability to drive responsibly, e.g., Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs or Alcohol.
My experience has shown that this criminal charge should not be taken lightly and must be throughly investigated by your defense attorney. Please contact me directly to prevent further financial and criminal liability.