Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyer
A car accident is always unfortunate, but, in most instances, it’s not a significant problem that can’t be fixed. However, various reasons may tempt drivers to leave the scene of the accident. In some cases, they may be worried that they will be charged with another offense, like driving with a suspended license or driving under the influence (DUI). In those situations, drivers believe it’s better to ignore a collision they may have caused to avoid criminal charges.
Charged With Leaving the Scene of an Accident And Have Questions? We Can Help, Tell Us What Happened.
Leaving the scene of an accident, commonly referred to as a hit-and-run, is a criminal offense that can lead to severe consequences if you are convicted. When you’re facing severe penalties, it is essential to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side to provide solid guidance and help fight your charges. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., our Pennsylvania lawyers have stood up for the rights of the accused in Montgomery County and Southeastern Pennsylvania for over 65 years. Call us to learn how we can help build a powerful defense for your unique circumstances.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Law in Pennsylvania
According to Title 75 Pa. C.S. § 3744 all drivers must stop at the scene of any car accident and report the crash to the police department—even if they were not at fault. In cases where the vehicle was unattended, drivers are expected to leave their contact and insurance information.
If a car accident occurs where both drivers are present, Pennsylvania law requires that they provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured and wait for the police to arrive. Drivers must provide their information to other drivers and police to create a police report, including their:
- Driver’s license
- Insurance information
- Vehicle registration
If the police do not arrive, drivers must report the accident with all of the required information at the nearest police department.
What Are the Consequences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in PA?
Leaving the scene of an accident can be charged as a summary offense, or, in the worst case, a second-degree felony, depending on the facts of the case. In Pennsylvania, the following charges and penalties may potentially apply to leaving the scene of an accident involving:
- Property damage to an unattended vehicle: When drivers fail to leave the required information during a hit and run to an unoccupied vehicle, it’s considered a summary offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $300.
- Property damage to an attended vehicle: When the vehicle is occupied, it’s considered a third-degree misdemeanor with penalties that include up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500 per Title 75 Pa. C.S. § 3743.
- Injuries to another driver or passenger: If another person suffers injuries in the hit and run, it’s considered a first-degree misdemeanor for which the penalties include up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
- Serious bodily injury to another driver: If the hit and run causes serious bodily injury to anyone involved, it’s considered a third-degree felony requiring a minimum of 90 days imprisonment and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 per Title 75 Pa. C.S. § 3742.
- Death to another driver or passenger: Leaving the scene of an accident that caused death to another is considered a second-degree felony punishable by at least three years in detention and a minimum fine of $2,500.
How Long After Leaving the Scene of an Accident Can You Be Charged?
If you’re involved in a hit and run, you could potentially be criminally charged months or even years after the occurrence, depending on the violation. Suppose you hit an unattended vehicle, and the violation is a summary offense. In that case, law enforcement can press charges up to 30 days after completing their investigation or learning the other driver’s identification, whichever is longer.
The time limit is two years before you could be indicted for the crime of misdemeanor hit and run offenses. If you face a felony charge for leaving the scene of an accident, there is no time limit on when law enforcement may bring charges.
Aggravated Indecent Assault
What Are Defenses to Leaving the Scene Charges in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you left the crash scene to garner a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident. If you remained at the accident scene, a knowledgeable lawyer will gather evidence to demonstrate that you did so.
Other defense strategies to leaving the scene of an accident charge in Pennsylvania include:
- Somebody else drove your car away from the crash scene
- Your vehicle was not involved in the hit and run
- You didn’t stop because you were driving to the hospital due to an emergency
- You were unaware that you hit another vehicle, object, or person
It can be challenging to fight hit and run charges. Having experienced legal help from an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands Pennsylvania’s leaving the scene of accident laws can help you build a powerful defense to protect your best interests. Your attorney at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. will thoroughly investigate the incident and evaluate the evidence to identify the most effective defense strategies to execute.
Get Help from Experienced Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyers in Montgomery County, PA
If you’re facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident in Pennsylvania, your freedom and future may be at risk if you do not act swiftly. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. Our team of skilled criminal defense lawyers is prepared to defend you through this challenging time and ensure your rights are fully protected.
Our attorneys include former prosecutors who use their knowledge to strengthen your case. Whether you’re facing a summary offense or a felony hit and run charge, you can rely on our Montgomery County criminal defense lawyers to handle your case strategically and skillfully. Talk to our knowledgeable leaving the scene of an accident lawyers about your case over a free consultation by calling 215-822-7575 or complete a contact form.