If you were involved in an accident where someone was hurt or property was damaged, and you panicked and left the scene without stopping, you can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Mistakes happen, and you probably regret your impulse to leave, however, Pennsylvania has very specific actions you must take after an accident. If you hit and run without following these steps, you can face jail, heavy fines, and loss of your license.
But if you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident in the Pittsburgh area or suspect you will be, contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys at (412) 281-2146 right away for a free, initial case consultation.
There is a lot an experienced Pittsburgh traffic lawyer can do and it could be the difference in resolving the matter favorably and with minimal impact on your life.
Hit and Run Resulting in Injury or Death
If someone is injured, no matter how serious or killed in an accident you were involved in, you must park somewhere safe and exchange information that includes your name, address, and insurance company. Additionally, you need to contact the police.
Importantly, you also need to assist anyone who is injured. If they need or ask for medical care, you should provide first aid, call an ambulance, or try to get them to a hospital.
What if You Leave the Scene
If you leave the scene of an accident when someone is injured or killed, and do not provide assistance, exchange information, or phone the police, depending on the circumstances you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Your penalties can include prison, costly fines, a criminal record, and points on your driving record.
A Hit And Run with Property Damage
In accidents where there was damage to another vehicle or property, you must stop, park somewhere safe, and contact the police.
If the owner is not present, you need to try to find them or leave a note where it can be easily found, with information about the accident and how to contact you.
If the owner is present, you need to give them your:
- License plate number
- Insurance information
- Vehicle registration number
If there is property damage and you hit and run, you can be punished with up to 90 days in jail as well as a $200 or more in fines, four (4) points on your driving record, and a possible six-month license suspension.
How a Lawyer Helps after a Hit Skip
Criminal traffic violations such as leaving the scene of an accident are serious, best handled by an experienced traffic defense attorney. Your lawyer should have the experience and relationships to review the evidence, interpret the law, and build a defense that can produce an optimal outcome for you.
By working with a lawyer you can possibly garage to deal with the matter through insurance or by paying for any repairs. This could help you avoid criminal charges altogether or mitigate the situation to something more manageable than possible jail time and living with a criminal conviction.
In addition, your attorney will develop a defense based on the circumstances of your case. This may include gathering evidence to show that you actually obeyed the traffic laws.