In the state of New York, if you’re involved in a car accident that consists of physical injury, injury to an animal or property damage, it’s illegal for you to leave the scene of the accident. When any one of those instances occur, you’re required to notify someone of the accident, and you must remain at the scene at all times. When police arrive at the scene, you’ll be required to provide at least the following information:
-Your name and address
-Proof of insurance, including the name and address of who holds the insurance and the name and contact information of the insurance company
-Your driver’s license number
Example of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Say you’re driving down a road when the car in front of you comes to a sudden stop, and you hit the back of the car. Nothing major, just a scratch or two can be seen as far as the property damage to the vehicle. The driver of the other car exits his vehicle, and you both ask each other if you’re okay. You are fine, and the other driver seems fine a well, although you do notice him gently rubbing the back of his neck. You shake the other driver’s hand, hand him your contact information, and drive away.
After you left, the other driver realizes he’s not feeling well and ends up in the emergency room. Because of this, the police find you and charge you with leaving the scene of an accident.
Defenses Your Attorney May Rely On
In order for you to not be convicted of the crime of leaving the scene of a property damage accident, your defense attorney would have to argue a few different points, including that you did not realize you hit another vehicle or that you did not realize you caused injury to someone. Keep in mind that someone can suffer a minor injury, one that is not defined as a physical injury in the criminal code, and you’ll also have a valid defense if you left the scene without.
Sentencing if Convicted
There are a number of considerations when a judge sentences a defendant with leaving the scene of an accident with an injury. For example, you could be charged just for not showing your license and insurance information, and in that case, you’ll see a monetary fine of upwards of $500 and three months in jail. Other reasons for your charge could find you paying a fine of up to $1,000 and facing a year in jail. If this is your second leaving the scene of an accident offense, the crime’s punishment increases to a fine of up to $2,500 and up to four years in prison. If a person dies as a result of the accident and you’re charged with leaving the scene, you face a fine as much as $5,000 and up to seven years in prison.
Retain an experienced defense attorney if you’re charged with leaving the scene of an accident. It’s very important that you provide accurate and correct information to your attorney, including details of the accident, who was involved if you think there were any witnesses and the reasons why you left the scene. All of this information is very important to the overall defense of your crime.