When you get into a car accident, you may be in shock and unsure of what to do. If no one has been hurt in the accident and you know that the wreck wasn’t your fault, your first reaction may be to leave the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident, however, can get you in a lot of trouble. It’s important to wait for the police to write up an accident report if you want to avoid criminal penalties.
At Justice for Colorado, we know that people make mistakes and aren’t always aware of the laws regarding hit-and-runs. Everyone deserves a legal defense and a fair trial after being charged with a crime, and our attorneys are committed to delivering the best representation. A Denver criminal defense lawyer from our team will negotiate on your behalf and try to reduce or dismiss your charges.
Penalties for a Hit-and-Run
Even if you weren’t responsible for causing an accident, you can be charged with a hit-and-run if you leave the scene of an accident prematurely.
If only property damage occurred in the accident, you can face a Class 2 misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If someone was injured in the wreck, you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to eighteen months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The penalties are escalated to felony charges when you leave the scene of a more severe accident. If someone was seriously injured in the wreck, you can be charged with a Class 5 felony, which can result in one to three years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. If someone died, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony, which can result in four to twelve years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.
Defense Strategies for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
There are some defense strategies your criminal defense lawyer in Denver may be able to use to get your hit-and-run charge reduced or dismissed. The first strategy your attorney may use if you’re charged with a more severe hit-and-run penalty is that you weren’t aware that any injuries occurred.
In certain circumstances, your lawyer may also be able to use the defense that you left the scene because the accident happened while you were on the way to the hospital or responding to another personal emergency. Discussing your case with your lawyer will be helpful in determining what strategies can be used.
Contact a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney
Leaving the scene of an accident that you were involved in is never a good idea because it can result in criminal charges on your record. It’s important to fight these charges if you hope to walk away from your accident without lasting consequences.