Legal Consequences Of Fleeing The Scene Of An Accident

Legal Consequences Of Fleeing The Scene Of An Accident

Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but leaving the scene without stopping to exchange information or render aid can lead to severe legal consequences. Hit-and-run offenses can have various serious penalties so you will need a strong defense to mitigate these charges.

Is it Illegal To Leave The Scene of An Accident?

Yes, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without stopping to assist or exchange information with the other parties involved. In most jurisdictions, including Colorado, drivers are required by law to stop immediately at the scene of an accident, render aid to any injured individuals, and provide their name, address, vehicle registration, and insurance information to the other parties involved.

What Are The Penalties For Fleeing An Accident?

The penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident vary depending on the severity of the offense which includes property damage and boldly injuries. In general, fleeing an accident can result in both misdemeanor and felony charges, each carrying significant consequences.

Misdemeanor Offenses:

Misdemeanor hit-and-run offenses typically involve leaving the scene of an accident where only property damage occurred or non-serious injuries were sustained. If a hit-and-run occurred and caused a non-serious injury, this would be a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado. The penalties for this are 10 days to 1 year in prison with fines ranging from $300 to $1000. If the incident caused property damage, it would be a class 2 misdemeanor and punishable by 10 to 90 days in prison as well as fines ranging from $150 to $300. 

Felony Offenses:

Felony hit-and-run offenses involve leaving the scene of an accident where there are serious injuries or fatalities. A hit-and-run is considered a class 4 felony in Colorado if it causes serious bodily injury. Penalties for this can be 2 to 6 years in prison as well as $2000 to $500,000 in fines. Class 3 felonies are assigned when a hit-and-run causes a death. This is punishable by 4 and 12 years in prison and fines between $3000 and $750,000.

How Do I Defend Myself From These Charges?

If you’re facing hit-and-run charges, it’s essential to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you build a strong defense. Some potential defenses against hit-and-run charges may include:

  • Lack of Knowledge: If you were unaware that an accident occurred or that you were involved, you may have a defense against hit-and-run charges.
  • Duress: If you left the scene of an accident due to threats or coercion, you may have a valid defense based on duress.
  • Necessity: If leaving the scene of the accident was necessary to avoid immediate harm or danger, you may have a defense based on necessity.
  • Mistaken Identity: If you were not the driver involved in the accident or if there is insufficient evidence to prove your involvement, you may have a defense based on mistaken identity.

What Should I Do After A Car Accident?

After a car accident, it’s essential to remain calm and follow these steps:

  1. Stop your vehicle in a safe location, away from traffic if possible.
  2. Check for injuries and call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed.
  3. Exchange information with the other parties involved, including names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, and vehicle registration numbers.
  4. Document the scene by taking photos of the vehicles, any damage, and the surrounding area.
  5. Cooperate with law enforcement officers and provide an accurate account of what happened.

Understanding Hit-And-Run Offenses

Fleeing the scene of an accident is a serious offense that can result in significant legal consequences. If you’re facing hit-and-run charges, it’s crucial to seek legal advice and representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and explore potential defenses. By understanding the legal implications of fleeing an accident and taking proactive steps to address the situation, you can mitigate the potential consequences and work toward a favorable outcome in your case.


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