Car accidents are a common occurrence on the roads of New York. While some accidents may be minor fender-benders, others can result in serious injuries and even fatalities. When involved in an accident, it is a legal requirement to stop and exchange information with the other parties involved. However, some drivers choose to leave the scene of the accident, either out of fear or negligence. Leaving the scene of an accident, also known as a hit-and-run, is a serious offense in New York, and can result in severe penalties.
In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore what leaving the scene of an accident entails, the consequences of this offense, and how you can protect yourself legally if involved in a hit-and-run incident.
Overview Of Hit And Run Accidents In NY
A hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver involved in a car crash leaves the scene of the accident without exchanging information with the other parties involved or without reporting the accident to the police. Hit-and-run accidents can include property damage or personal injury to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
In New York, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense and can result in criminal charges, civil penalties, and administrative consequences such as suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. The severity of the penalties depends on the specific circumstances of the accident, such as the extent of the damage or injuries caused, whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and whether the driver has prior convictions for leaving the scene of an accident.
In addition to the legal consequences, hit-and-run accidents can also have a significant impact on the victims, who may be left with medical bills, property damage, and emotional trauma. It is important for drivers to remain at the scene of an accident and take responsibility for their actions. This can help ensure that the victims receive the care and compensation they need to recover from their injuries and damages.
Can I Be Charged For Leaving The Scene Of An Accident?
In New York, leaving the scene of an accident that causes property damage or injuries to people is regarded as a serious infraction. After an accident, drivers are required to halt their cars and trade insurance information with the other side. Additionally, if the police are contacted, both sides are expected to wait for their arrival.
There are severe legal implications for leaving the scene of an accident or failing to exchange insurance information. There will be consequences if you don’t wait for the police. These punishments are connected to classic hit-and-run incidents and collisions in parking lots where an unoccupied vehicle is hit by a moving vehicle. Drivers must try to discover the owner of the car they struck in a parking lot, or they must leave their insurance information visible for the other driver to find. Even if only a small amount of damage is done, information communication is necessary.
No matter what led to your collision, it is advised that you call the police. If they will visit the accident site to gather information or if you are free to go, the police will inform you.
What Are The Penalties For Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In New York?
Leaving the scene of an accident may result in you facing the following penalties in New York:
- A surcharge of $88 to $93
- 3 points on the driver’s license
- Up to 15 days in jail for accidents involving property damage
- CDL drivers who leave the scene of an accident may automatically lose their license for a year even without injuries being involved
- Increased insurance rates for a conviction
- Facing criminal charges and a criminal record for leaving the accident involving personal injury
- Accidents involving injuries can cause a driver to lose their license for up to a year
- If property damage has occurred, drivers may face fines up to $250
- If a personal injury has occurred, divers may face fines up to $5,000
Defenses For Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In NY
While leaving the scene of an accident is generally considered a serious offense in New York, there may be certain defenses that a driver can raise to avoid or reduce criminal penalties. Here are some possible defenses:
- Lack of knowledge: The driver may argue that they did not know they were involved in an accident or did not realize that they caused damage or injury. However, this defense is difficult to prove if there is evidence to suggest that the driver should have been aware of the accident.
- Medical emergency: If the driver left the scene of the accident to seek medical attention for themselves or a passenger, they may be able to argue that they had a valid reason for leaving. However, this defense is only applicable if the driver did not have a reasonable opportunity to call for help.
- Fear of harm: The driver may argue that they left the scene of the accident because they feared for their safety or the safety of their passengers. However, this defense is only valid if there was a credible threat of harm and the driver had no other reasonable option.
- Mistaken identity: The driver may argue that they were not the one responsible for the accident and that they left the scene because they feared being falsely accused or arrested. However, this defense requires the driver to present evidence to support their claim.
It’s important to note that these defenses are not guaranteed to be successful and the outcome will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. It’s always recommended that drivers stay at the scene of an accident and cooperate with law enforcement to avoid facing criminal penalties.
What To Do If You Witness A Hit And Run Accident In NY
Witnessing a hit-and-run accident can be a shocking and upsetting experience, but it’s important to take action to help the victim and hold the responsible driver accountable. If you witness a hit-and-run accident in New York, there are several things you can do to assist:
- Call 911: The first thing to do is call 911 to report the accident and provide as much information as possible about the vehicles involved, the location, and any injuries.
- Stay at the scene: If it’s safe to do so, stay at the scene to provide assistance and information to the victim and authorities.
- Gather information: Try to gather as much information as possible about the vehicle and driver responsible for the accident, such as the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, and any distinguishing features.
- Provide a statement: When the police arrive, provide a detailed statement about what you witnessed, including any information you gathered about the responsible driver.
- Follow up: If you are able to provide information about the responsible driver, follow up with the authorities to assist in their investigation.
By taking these steps, you can help bring justice to the victim and ensure that the responsible driver is held accountable for their actions.
Hiring A New York Lawyer For Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In NY Case
If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident in New York, it is crucial to hire a lawyer immediately. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense in NY and can lead to criminal charges, fines, and even imprisonment.
A New York lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options, including potential defenses, plea agreements, and the potential consequences of your case. They can also guide you through the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive fair treatment under the law.
When choosing a lawyer, it is essential to find someone with experience handling hit-and-run cases in New York. Look for an attorney who has a successful track record of representing clients in similar situations, as well as someone who has a strong understanding of New York traffic laws and court procedures.
Hiring a New York lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights in the face of serious criminal charges.