Leaving the Scene of an Accident
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Leaving the Scene of an Accident is often called a “hit and run.” When there is property damage to another vehicle, this offense is a Class “A” Misdemeanor, meaning you could face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine plus court costs. Based on the seriousness of these types of charges, if you attend court without an attorney, most judges will make you return to court with an attorney to advise you of your rights and possible outcomes.
Everyone knows that leaving a scene of an accident is big deal. Few know exactly what the law requires a person to do if an accident happens. What are the requirements? Who has to do what? What are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, particularly if that happens in Illinois?
How To Avoid A ‘Leaving The Scene’ Charge
The law regulating what a person should and should not do following an accident when a vehicle is damaged can be found in Illinois Code 625 ILCS 5/11-402. That section of the law requires that anyone in an accident in which there is a vehicle damaged to:
- Pull over (if possible) to a safe location;
- Give information to the opposite driver about registration, ownership, and driver’s license numbers;
- Or, if the other driver is unable to receive this information, call the police and give him or her the required information for a police report.
If a driver involved in an accident fails to do this, then he or she will likely be charged with Leaving Scene of Accident Involving Damage to Another Vehicle.
Penalty for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Unlike most traffic offenses that amount to a petty offense (fine only), Leaving Scene of Accident Involving Damage to Another Vehicle in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor. This is a serious crime in Illinois; in fact, it is one step below a felony. If convicted, a judge has the option of putting the person in jail for a year and levying a fine of up $2,500, but that is not the end of what you could be facing.
Under the provisions of this law, there is another, serious consequence of being convicted of violating this law. If, after conviction, the judge finds that there was more than $1,000 in damage to the other vehicle, then the State of Illinois can suspend your driver’s license. So not only do you face jail time and a fine, but the loss of your driver’s license, as well. As you can see, being charged with Leaving Scene of Accident Involving Damage to Another Vehicle is quite serious.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death (Felony Offense)
In addition to the seriousness of a Leaving the Scene of Property Damage, there are more serious consequences if you are involved in an accident and leave the scene where another individual is either injured or killed. If you leave the scene and fail to render aid to another person, you could be facing up to a Class 1 Felony Offense, which is anywhere between 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Given the seriousness of being convicted of this crime, it is important for anyone charged with this offense to talk with an attorney as soon as possible. The prospect of going to jail should put anyone in the state of mind that these charges must be aggressively defended. At Driver Defense Team, we work to defend those accused of a traffic offense in the Cook county, DuPage county, and the Chicago area. Contact us today, and we will help you understand what your options are and what we can do to serve you.