Hit and Run Penalties: What You Need to Know

If you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s sometimes useful to discuss the matter with the other parties involved, but it’s imperative to wait to meet with the authorities. While discussing what happened with the police may not be your happiest time, it’s necessary to stay within the boundaries of the law.

However, if you’ve been involved in an accident and then drove off without stopping, it is a major issue. You could have done so because you thought it was too minor an accident to stop, or because you believe that you were over the legal limit at the time. Nevertheless, the infraction is significant, so don’t discount it.

Implications of Leaving the Scene

If you’ve gotten into a fender bender and left the scene, that’s problematic. It’s even worse if the accident caused someone else involved to become injured. That’s then a more serious matter.

Leaving a scene of an accident in Michigan relates to the Michigan Vehicle Code and namely Section 257.617a. Someone who causes bodily injury and leaves an accident scene could be liable to penalties, criminal action including possibly a misdemeanor charge, a suspended driver’s license, as much as $1,000 in fines, and a 12-month prison term.

What About a Hit and Run Incident?

While leaving the scene of an accident by stopping briefly and driving off could be put down to not realizing the accident was more significant or that anyone was hurt, that’s far less likely in a genuine hit and run incident.

A hit and run can be accidental because of being impaired due to being under the influence, or as an intentional action against another person to do them harm. Therefore, even if you did it because you panicked and drove away, it could be seen in an extremely negative light.

The Michigan Vehicle Code covers the possibility of a hit and run incident or accident in Sections 257.617 and 257.618. The law separates vehicle or property damage from injuries to people. The former also carry potential fines, a suspended license, and up to 90 days in prison.

Worse still, severe personal injury to another person or death has the potential for five-figure fines if at fault, a felony prosecution, and potentially over a decade in prison.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Involved in a Hit and Run?

You should hire an attorney who is familiar with Michigan hit and run penalties.

They can advise you what to do, which will likely include voluntarily handing yourself in to the authorities.

Beginning to take responsibility for what has happened – leaving the scene or for the hit and run – is the right next move. While that doesn’t mean that the accident itself was your fault, leaving the scene is likely to be thoroughly investigated at the very least. It is best to face up to the consequences of your actions even if they are acknowledged later as mistaken. Courts can be understanding of mistakes, especially when it’s a first-time offense. So, don’t lose hope. Get a legal team on your side to try to obtain the best possible outcome now. Being arrested on the streets as a wanted person following a hit-and-run incident will only worsen the situation. Act before that happens.

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