Detroit Hit and Run Lawyer
Commonly known as a hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense—especially if the accident results in an injury or death. Even when the accident causes only property damage, you may possibly receive a jail sentence. Additionally, you can expect your insurance rates to go up, and your conduct may be used against you if the victim sues you in court to get compensation for his or her injuries.
You Must Stop and Report Any Accident Resulting in Vehicle Damage
If you get into an accident, Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.618 requires that you stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident and immediately report the accident to police. In addition, section 257.619 of the Michigan Vehicle Code requires that you must:
- Give your name, address, vehicle registration number
- Show your driver’s license if necessary
- Give any injured people reasonable assistance in getting medical help
When the vehicle you hit is parked or unattended, Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.620 requires that you either report the accident to a police officer or that you find and notify the owner of the vehicle you hit. According to Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.621, you must do the same if instead of hitting a vehicle, you hit a “roadside fixture.”
Failing to meet these requirements is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of $100 and/or 90 days in jail—unless you can show that the accident did not cause any damage to the vehicle or roadside fixture that you hit.
Failing to Report an Accident Resulting in Death or Injury
The penalties for failing to stop, render aid, and report an accident are much harsher when the accident results in injury or the loss of life. According to Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.617a, failing to report an accident resulting in an injury is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison, a $1,000 fine, and the suspension of your driver’s license.
If you cause an accident that results in death or serious injury, leaving the scene of the accident is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. If you didn’t cause the accident, the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Defending Against Your Hit and Run Charges
One of the only times it’s acceptable to leave the scene of an accident is when you have an honest belief that staying at the accident scene could result in harm. For example, if you’re on a narrow highway with no shoulder, stopping may not be an option. But even then, you must go directly to the nearest police station to make a report.
Another possible defense to hit and run charges is to claim that you were responding to an emergency at the time of the accident. For example, if you are driving someone to the hospital during a medical emergency and you hit someone, you may receive a lenient sentence for your hit and run.
If you have no knowledge of the accident, then you can’t be held criminally liable for failing to report it. However, just about any accident that causes damage to another vehicle is going to be noticeable to the driver. But this may still be a viable defense to your hit and run charge depending on the circumstances of your case.
Defending against hit and run charges is not easy, so if you get charged you need to retain the services of skilled and experienced Detroit traffic violations lawyer. At Davis Law Group, we have a proven track record of obtaining successful case outcomes for our clients. If you’re facing hit and run charges, call us today (313) 818-3238 for your free and confidential initial consultation.