Leaving the scene of an accident can mean big trouble. In accidents involving injury or death, a failure to stop can result in a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. If you fail to file a police report, you may be charged with a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years. If the other party died, you are now subject to a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4 to 15 years. When the accident only involves property damage, you may still be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail plus a fine.
If you are charged with leaving the scene, an experienced attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Does the state have witnesses to the accident? Can the state prove you were driving the car? Did you stay on the scene for several minutes after the accident first occurred? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an experienced attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a better plea agreement than you could on your own.
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