Commonly referred to as “hit and run,” leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in MA. As with most crimes, the penalties depend largely on the particulars of the case, the severity of the accident, and prior criminal history.
Consider the following scenarios: Sue runs into her neighbor’s mailbox because she was texting while driving. She’s not intoxicated, and she doesn’t have a criminal record. But she leaves the scene because it’s late at night and she’s too embarrassed to admit her mistake. Sue may be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, but her penalties will likely be minor. Gretchen, on the other hand, hits a pedestrian while driving drunk, breaking the victim’s leg and shoulder. Gretchen has an extensive criminal record. Chances are, her outcome won’t be nearly as pleasant.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene (No Injuries)
In MA, leaving the scene of an accident is loosely defined as failing to stop after a collision to contact the police or exchange information with the other parties involved. At it’s most basic, leaving the scene is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of this offense, you may face the following penalties:
- A fine of up to $200
- Up to two years in jail
- A minimum license suspension of 60 days with a maximum suspension of one year
But what if the accident was so minor you didn’t even know it had occurred? If you were unaware of the damage, how could you have known to stop and exchange information? While a smashed mailbox would be hard to miss, it is common for minor accidents to be overlooked when it’s dark outside, or due to distractions or loud music.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene (Injuries)
Things get much more complicated if you leave the scene of an injury accident. When you leave the scene of an accident that resulted in injury to another, you will be looking at a mandatory minimum sentence. Penalties for this crime may include:
- A minimum of six months in jail, with a maximum of two years
- A fine of up to $1,000
- A minimum license suspension of one year, up to indefinite
- Subsequent convictions carry a minimum two year license suspension
A skilled Boston criminal defense lawyer can help you get your penalties reduced or dismissed entirely. In some cases, you can avoid a conviction by working out a payment arrangement to compensate the victim for medical bills and any other expenses associated with the accident. Continue reading