What is Considered Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
Leaving the Scene of an Accident offenses penalize motorists who, while operating a motor vehicle on a public way, collides with someone or something and departs without stopping to notify authorities and exchange information.
There are two types of this offense:
- (1) Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Property Damage
- (2) Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Personal Injury
These laws serve to financially protect persons who sustain property damage or personal injuries by motorists.
The property damage sufficient for this offense may be damage caused during a collision with another motor vehicle or may be other property such as a telephone pole or privately owned tree that may be damaged in a single-vehicle accident. Property damage of any type, regardless of extent, prompts the duty to stop following the accident. The same holds true for personal injury.
An accident may occur resulting in both property damage and personal injuries. In such cases, a motorist may be charged with both types of the offense or its most serious type, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Personal Injury.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident, regardless of type, may have serious consequences to include mandatory jail time. The seriousness of the offense is evaluated by a number of factors to include the nature and type of the property damaged and the extent or value of the damage inflicted.
Other factors relating to personal injuries include the number and status of victims and their extent of their injuries. Other non-jail consequences may include restitution and affects or limitations on your driver’s license or privilege to operate a motor vehicle.
Charges: Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Dismissed
Johnston Police charged a woman with leaving the scene of an accident and failing to file an accident report for an incident that allegedly occurred at a motor vehicle dealership. Two customers of the dealership parked their vehicles in two different spaces. One customer alleged that the other, the charged female, backed her vehicle into his and drove off without stopping, exchanging insurance information or saying a word. The customer went into the dealership to report the alleged incident to employees. Because the woman had just completed documentation related to her vehicle purchase, the dealership has her information on file such as name, license information, address and phone number. Police were notified and responded on scene. After taking a statement from the customer and several employees of the dealership, Johnston Police summonsed the woman to appear in both Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal and Johnston Municipal Court. She maintained her innocence to any wrongdoing and refused, based solely on principle, to even notify her insurance carrier of this alleged incident. She retained Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer, John L. Calcagni III, to defend her in this matter. Attorney Calcagni and his team appeared for this woman in two separate courts on separate days. In both instances, they successfully moved to dismiss the citations against her.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and need expert legal representation, contact the RI/MA motor vehicle defense attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.