Also known as “hit and run,” leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident is a criminal offense. A hit and run doesn’t have to involve injuries, but penalties are likely to be much more severe if someone is injured. Although it’s never a good idea to leave the scene of an accident, people are prone to use poor judgement in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, fleeing the scene can elevate potential penalties from strictly financial to criminal. Fortunately, multiple defenses are available to protect the rights of individuals charged with this offense.
Potential Defenses to a Hit and Run Charge
Leaving the scene of the accident is a crime, but things aren’t always what they seem. Maybe you didn’t even realize you had hit another vehicle. The following scenarios are common challenges against hit and run charges.
- I wasn’t the driver: This one is fairly straightforward; if you were not driving the car, you are not criminally liable for leaving the scene of the accident. Proving that you were not driving, however, is another issue altogether. This is when having a skilled MA criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in the world.
- There wasn’t an accident: Does the prosecution have evidence of damages or injuries? If not, maybe there was never an accident in the first place. Getting framed or blamed for an accident that you weren’t involved in, or that never even occurred, happens more often than most people realize.
- I didn’t flee the scene: Consider the following scenario – you back into another car while exiting a parking lot, but the stereo is loud and you are unaware of the accident. The next day, you get a call explaining that the surveillance video caught you leaving the scene of an accident. If you didn’t know you hit the car, how can you be charged with hit and run? Well, unfortunately, these types of misunderstandings do But a good Boston defense lawyer can help. Further, if you hit a car and the victim leaves, look for a witness who can corroborate your story. If you hit a parked car and leave a note, take a picture of the note to prove that you did, in fact, leave one.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in MA
As with most crimes, the penalties are largely dependent on the severity of the crime, unique circumstances of the case, and past criminal history. If you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident in MA, you may be facing:
- Up to two years in jail and up to $200 in fines, if the accident only resulted in property damage.
- Up to two years in jail and up to $1,000 in fines if the accident resulted in injury. If the injuries were severe, more serious charges may apply.
- Up to 10 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines if the accident resulted in death. In this situation, you may also face charges for motor vehicle homicide.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Criminal Defense Law Firm Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas
If you have been charged with any type of crime, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with crimes for more than 50 years. We understand that even good people make mistakes. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. It is our goal to keep you out of jail, and to keep your record clean. If you are facing charges for any criminal offense, from petty theft to manslaughter, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.