Have you been charged with fleeing the seen of an accident?
As a criminal defense lawyer in Pittsburgh, I’m often asked about hit-and-run accidents. If you are arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident or a hit-and-run, it is can be a 3rd degree misdemeanor or felony offence and carries with it very serious consequences. When you’re in an automobile accident, it is your duty as a licensed driver to stop and make contact with or help the other driver and passengers to the best of your ability. You must also call emergency responders at 911 to report the incident and exchange insurance information with anyone else involved in the accident. If you have been charged with fleeing the scene of an accident or a hit-and-run, the penalties you incur will be a result of the severity of your particular situation. If you are charged with "failure to stop," it is a third degree misdemeanor and carries with it a $2500 fine and up to one year in jail. If you’re charged with "property damage," you will receive a citation, a $300 fine, and up to an additional ninety days in jail. If you’re hit-and-run results in a serious injury, it is considered a third degree felony and carries with it a $1000 fine and at least ninety days in jail. And if you kill someone, it is considered a second degree felony and carries a $2500 fine and at least one year in jail. There are various reason why people fail to stop their vehicle after an accident. Sometimes, people are driving without a license or drunk driving and are scared to stop for fear of being sent to prison. They aren’t mentally prepared to deal with the consequences and their first reaction is to run to evade authorities. There are other times when people don’t even realize they have caused an accident or think that they simply hit an animal and then keep going. Despite the reasons for a person’s failure to stop after an accident, an ambitious prosecutor will likely look for maximum penalties on all accounts. Pleading guilty to such crimes will almost certainly land a person in jail for a long time and hit his or her bank account in a big way. And while the fines can be paid in time, a prison sentence can follow someone guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident for the rest of his or her life, resulting in the inability to purchase a home, go back to school, or find quality employment. In addition to fines, jail time, and the lifelong consequences that come with a jail sentence, you will indefinitely suffer higher insurance costs. If you have been charged with fleeing the scene of an accident or a hit-and-run crime, call Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer Gary E. Gerson at (412) 281-3380 for a free preliminary consultation.