If you have a car crash in Massachusetts, you are legally required to stop your vehicle and exchange information with the other parties involved. But drivers sometimes leave the scene of an accident for a variety of reasons: they are unaware of the collision, they have issues with their insurance or driver’s license, or they simply panic and drive away.
While you may know you should stop at the scene of an accident, what happens if you don’t? Hit and run violations can have potentially serious consequences including traffic tickets, suspension or loss of your driver’s license, legal fines, probation, and even jail time. The exact criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Massachusetts depend on the specifics of the crash, including what kind of damage or injury occurred.
What Constitutes a Hit and Run in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts law requires you to stop at the scene of an accident and provide your name, address, and vehicle registration information. This is true even if you run into a stationary object like a mailbox or a fence. You can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident if you knew you had a collision but failed to stop and give your information to the other party (e.g., driver, property owner, injured bicyclist or pedestrian) or police. You cannot comply with Massachusetts hit and run laws by driving away and then providing your information at a later date.
What are the Criminal Consequences of a Hit and Run in Massachusetts?
Leaving the scene of a crash is against the law in Massachusetts regardless of the resulting injuries and damage. However, the criminal consequences depend on what kind of damage was caused and whether the driver had any previous offenses. Specifically, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Massachusetts are as follows:
- Property damage only — If you leave the scene of an accident causing property damage, you may face a fine of up to $200, up to 2 years in jail, and a minimum 60-day suspension of your driver’s license.
- Personal injury not resulting in death — If you leave the scene of an accident causing personal injury, you may face a fine of up to $1,000, up to 2 years in jail, and a minimum 1-year suspension of your driver’s license.
- Personal injury resulting in death — If you leave the scene of an accident resulting in the death of another person, you may face a fine of up to $5,000, up to 10 years in prison, and a minimum 3-year suspension of your driver’s license.
For subsequent offenses, you can expect to face increased penalties.
Can a Massachusetts Hit and Run Lawyer Help Me?
Because of the severe potential penalties for a hit and run in Massachusetts, it makes sense to have a skilled defense attorney at your side. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over five decades of experience representing people charged with motor vehicle crimes in Massachusetts. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced hit and run defense attorney today.