If I caused a car accident but did notstop, what charges do I face?

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If I caused a car accident but did notstop, what charges do I face?

I do not have a license nor a permit. I will be turning 18 in 5 months. The damages where minimal, only a couple of small scratches. I have yet to find out if a report was filed. What charges and consequence do I face for leaving the scene and not providing proper information?

Asked on August 20, 2011 Arizona

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Okay so let's start from the beginning.  First, driving without a license is not what is called an "indicia of negligence," meaning that just because you do not have license it does not mean you were negligent in causing the accident.  Many licensed drivers drive negligently. You will, however, have violated a statute and be fined (most likely).  Now, the other matters are more serious.  First, leaving the scene of an accident is governed by the following:

28-662. Accidents involving damage to vehicle; failure to stop; classification; driver license suspension

A. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is driven or attended by a person shall:

1. Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the accident scene as possible but shall immediately return to the accident scene.

2. Remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of section 28-663.

3. Make the stop without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

B. A person failing to stop or comply with this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

C. A court may order the department to suspend the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of a person convicted under this section for one year.

Serious.  And providing the police with false information is also serious and can result in a fine and possibly imprisonment.  It is obstructing justice as well.  So get a lawyer asap.  You were young and scared I am sure.   Don't do anything else stupid.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All states have requirements under its motor vehicle and penal codes that when one is driving a motor vehicle and causes personal injuries or property damages in connection with the use of any motor vehicle, that person is to immediately stop the vehicle at the scene and provide all information of his or her residence, name, and driver's license to those in attendance.

If there is no one present at the accident scene, the written information needs to be placed at the scene by the driver and affixed to the damaged item. A follow up is required by the driver of the vehicle causing the damage in an attempt to ascertain the owner of the damaged item.

Leaving the scene of an accident without the proper reporting information provided, in most states depending upon the degree of damages and whether there were personal injuries to an individual is a misdemeanor at a minimum, and could be a felony.

A misdemeanor is typically punished at the outer limits for a conviction of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.


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