When involved in a car accident, individuals have a legal obligation to stop their vehicle and exchange information, at least. Maryland attorney, Jeffrey Scholnick discusses the possible repercussions brought upon an individual by leaving the scene of an accident.
Under Maryland law, drivers are required to take certain steps immediately following a car accident. Failure to oblige by these laws may result in serious penalties, including fines and jail time.
What should I do if involved in an accident?
Whether it is a fender bender or a collision with a parked car, if you are involved in a car accident in Maryland it is important that you follow certain steps. First, you are required by law to pull your vehicle over when it is safe to do so. It is important that you check both cars and all individuals involved for damage and injuries. If anyone is injured, or there is resultant property damage, the involved parties are morally and legally obligated to call the police.
Next, as specified by the Maryland Transportation Code, drivers must exchange insurance and contact information. If the other vehicle involved is parked, and the driver is not present, you are required to leave a note with your information and file a formal accident report with local law enforcement authorities
What happens if I leave the scene?
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, often called a hit-and-run. In Maryland, leaving after a car accident can result in serious penalties, such as license suspension, monetary fines and jail time. The punishments for this crime are often dependent on the severity of property damage or injury that ensued as well as the drivers traffic and criminal record.
If you are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in property damage to another vehicle, you may face up to 60 days in jail and as much as a $500 fine. Aside from the criminal punishments if convicted of a hit-and-run, you may also have up to twelve points added to your driving record which can lead to a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
When an accident results in injuries to other parties, the punishments for leaving the scene increase immensely. A driver convicted of a hit-and-run which caused injuries to another party can face up to a five-year sentence, as well as a $5,000 fine (depending on the section of the law under which the driver is sentenced as well as the severity of injuries.) Additionally, the Motor Vehicle Association may revoke the license of the convicted driver. Aside from the legal consequences of the crime, a driver may be confronted with expensive car insurance increases.
Many drivers understand that if they are involved in an accident that results in fatalities, they have a responsibility to remain at the scene of the crash. However, a person who leaves the scene of a fatal accident may be convicted of a felony, for which the punishments could result in up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
What can I do if I have been involved in a hit-and-run or a car accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important that you contact a legal professional. An attorney can help you to navigate the complex legal issues that may arise after an accident, and will work with you to understand the details of your case as to best represent you in the event that you go to court. Similarly, if you were involved in a hit-and-run offense, you will want to have a criminal attorney by your side, as this offense has potential to have long-term consequences. Contact Jeffrey Scholnick at the Law Office of Jeffrey Scholnick for more information about the consequences of a hit-and-run, or for an evaluation of your case.