Whenever a motor vehicle collision occurs in the state of New York, there are certain actions that every involved driver must take during the immediate aftermath of the incident in accordance with state law. Failure to follow these rules can result not only in substantial penalties in traffic court, but also—depending on the severity of the crash—serious consequences in criminal court as well.
As any experienced traffic defense attorney could affirm, you may wind up facing criminal prosecution and sentencing even if you committed a hit and run by accident rather than on purpose. Either way, if you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident or suspect you may face charges soon, getting in touch with a Manhattan hit and run lawyer should be your top priority.
What is Required of Drivers in Manhattan Auto Wrecks?
No matter what kind of property damage or injuries have occurred as a result of a traffic accident, New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600 requires every driver involved to stop their vehicle immediately. Drivers are then required to produce both their driver’s license and proof of vehicle insurance coverage, as well as personal contact information. If a driver strikes a stationary structure or unoccupied vehicle, they must report the incident and provide the necessary personal information at the nearest police station or to the nearest law enforcement officer.
Except for the scenario mentioned above, it is not necessary to contact law enforcement or summon an officer to the scene after any wreck that results only in property damage. Conversely, if a crash results in any type of injury or results in someone’s death, any driver involved who is physically capable of doing so must report the accident to police immediately and remain at the scene until an officer arrives. The individual must also provide any information that may be relevant to a future personal injury claim. A Manhattan hit and run attorney could provide further clarification about these basic requirements as needed.
Potential Consequences for a Hit and Run
State law refers to the offense, colloquially known as a “hit and run,” as “leaving the scene of an accident,” and it allows for different types of penalties depending on the damage caused by the accident in question. If someone fails to stop their vehicle and/or provide all necessary information after a vehicle accident resulting solely in property damage, an ensuing criminal charge for leaving the scene would be classified as a traffic infraction. For this type of charge, a guilty finding would allow for maximum penalties of 15 days in jail or a $250 fine. The defendant would also be subject to an assessment of three points on their driver’s license, which could result in additional sanctions depending on their history of other traffic offenses and infractions.
Failing to provide necessary information at the scene of a wreck resulting in personal injury is considered a Class B misdemeanor after a first offense and a Class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offense. Any other type of violation, including leaving the scene immediately without stopping, would be considered a Class A misdemeanor after a first conviction and subsequently a Class E felony. A qualified Manhattan hit and run lawyer could provide custom-tailored support in response to any type of charges related to leaving the scene of an accident.
Contact a Manhattan Hit and Run Attorney as Soon as Possible
Even if you did not mean to break the law by leaving a motor vehicle accident scene prematurely, you could still wind up facing severe criminal charges and penalties because of it. Fortunately, it may be possible to mitigate the severity of ensuing traffic and criminal sanctions by working with knowledgeable legal counsel to explain the situation.
A Manhattan hit and run lawyer could provide much-needed assistance with resolving this type of charge as amicably and proactively as possible. Call today to learn more.