Car accidents are a common occurrence. According to a recent report, over 3 million people are injured in road traffic accidents in the U.S. every year. However, even though road traffic accidents are so common, lots of us find it hard to know what to do when we’re involved in one.
The law requires anyone who is involved in a road traffic accident to stop at the scene and exchange personal details with individuals who have a reasonable need to request them. Failing to stop at the scene of a road traffic accident is an offense that could lead to you spending time in jail or having to pay a hefty fine.
Even though the majority of us know that we should remain at the scene of an accident, many of us panic and flee the scene due to fear of what will happen next. If you’ve fled the scene of an accident and you don’t know what to do next, then here’s some advice to help you:
What Happens When You Leave the Scene of an Accident?
If an individual leaves the scene of a car accident, then the following process will take place:
- Law enforcement agents will arrive at the scene – they will conduct an investigation into what happened
- Witnesses will be questioned about what they saw
- CCTV footage, and surveillance cameras will be checked – this will include cameras from nearby businesses and traffic light cameras
- Law enforcement officials may test the paint that was left behind on the victim’s vehicle – this helps them to work out the type of car involved in the crash.
- Law enforcement will want to establish whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash
- The law enforcement officials will then try and find the fleeing driver by using the evidence they’ve collected
- A warrant may be issued – this allows law enforcement officials to search the home of the person who left the scene of an accident. It may also allow them to take your vehicle in for forensic investigation.
- If enough evidence is found, the person will be charged
What Sentence Could You Face?
Failing to stop when you’re involved in a road traffic accident is a serious offense and is usually treated as such. Depending on the seriousness of the circumstances, some of the punishments could include:
- 5 – 10 penalty points on your driving license
- A fine of thousands of dollars
- A driving ban
- A prison sentence
Even though failing to stop at the scene of an accident is a serious offense, there are some grounds for defense available. It’s always a good idea to seek legal representation from someone who specializes in this area. You can learn more here.
What Defense Can You Use?
There are a number of defenses available to drivers who’ve left the scene of a road traffic accident. One defense you could use is that you didn’t know the accident had occurred. Individuals can only be found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident if they know that it took place. You could argue that you didn’t see or hear anything to suggest an accident took place. Another defense may be that you stopped at the scene of the incident, but there was no one available to swap details with and you remained in the area for a reasonable period of time after the accident occurred.
No matter what type of accident you’ve been involved in, whether It was your fault or not, it’s always a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney. They will listen to your side of the story, advise you on the prosecution case and help you to build a strong defense case for you.
When you’re responsible for a car accident, it can catch you by surprise, leading to panic, anxiety and rash decisions. This can lead to you fleeing the scene due to fear. If you’ve left the scene of an accident and don’t know what to do next, then get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer. They will be able to talk you through the whole process.