Failure to Give Information
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Failure to Give Information to Owner After Striking Unattended Vehicle or Property
If you are charged with failing to inform a car owner about the fact that you hit and damaged his or her car, you should speak with an attorney about the charges. Unlike many other traffic offenses, which are considered petty offenses or minor misdemeanors, committing a hit and run on a parked car or leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor criminal charge.
In most cases, you do not have an obligation to render assistance after an accident. But if you hit and damage a car or other property of someone else, you are legally obligated to stop, give your information, and report it. This is true throughout Illinois, including Chicago and all of Cook county.
Description of the Law
The law regulating what a driver must do once he or she hits and damages a car or other property can be found in the Illinois code 625 ILCS 5/11-404. That section of the law details what information a person must report to the owner of a car or other damaged property after damaging it. The first obligation is to stop and locate the owner. Then the driver must exchange information about insurance, contact information, and registration information, among other things.
Of course, there will be occasions when you cannot find the owner of the property you damaged. If it is not feasible because of traffic, or if you cannot locate the owner, the law states you must leave information with the damaged property, left in a conspicuous location, and the information should include:
- Your name;
- Your address; and
- Your vehicle registration number.
After doing this, it is the responsibility of the driver to contact the nearest police officer to report the accident. As you can see, the driving causing the damage bears the responsibility to report the accident and the details.
Penalties for Breaking the Law
Being charged with failing to give information to an owner after striking a car or damaging property is a serious charge. In fact, it is a criminal charge, not a minor traffic violation. The penalty for failing to report the necessary information after damaging a car or other property in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanors can be punished with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 plus court costs. This is not a petty offense or an insignificant charge. That is why it is so important to talk with an attorney if you are charged with failure to give information to an owner after damaging a car or property.
At Driver Defense Team, we are here to aggressively defend those accused or charged with traffic offenses in Chicago and the surrounding areas. If you are charged with failure to give information to the owner after striking an unattended vehicle or property, or another traffic charge, contact us. We will help you understand what your options are, and advise as to which steps you need to take next.