Hit and Run Charges in New York
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious matter in New York. Any time an auto accident results in injury or death, or to the property of an unknown owner, you must get the police on the scene. Any time you are involved in an accident at all, you must stop and trade contact and insurance information with the other driver.
If you’re not sure whether you’re required to report the accident it’s always better to err on the side of reporting. There is no penalty for calling the police out to an accident even if their presence was not, strictly speaking, required.
There are times where you can report the accident after the fact to avoid penalties, but if you have panicked and fled the scene or left the scene of an accident mistakenly believing it was not one the police needed to get involved with you should reach out to a traffic lawyer and misdemeanor criminal lawyer right away.
What is the punishment for a hit and run?
Hit and run drivers face multiple penalties:
- Up to one year in jail for a minor accident, or up to 7 years in jail for accidents that cause serious injuries, or death. Up to 15 days for simply failing or refusing to provide insurance information.
- Up to $250 for property damage, or up to $5000 for an accident where a person is injured.
- A mandatory surcharge of $88 to $93.
- 3 points on the license if there are no injuries or only minor injury; license revocation for leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.
- A criminal record. A property damage hit and run is a misdemeanor, a personal injury hit and run is a felony.
The reasons for the hit and run do not matter. For example, explaining to the judge that you panicked but didn’t mean to hurt anybody will only serve as an admission of guilt, not as a mitigating factor.
What are defenses for hit and run charges?
One defense is a “mistake of fact” defense. We can try to prove that you honestly had no idea that you’d struck the other vehicle or that you truly believed there was no damage.
Another is mistaken identity…that you were not the driver that has been identified as the hit and run driver.
In some cases attempting to put together a plea deal or get your charges reduced will be the better course of action.
Most hit and run drivers are caught. There are just too many traffic cameras and too many ways to match up damage to the car that caused it.
Accused of a hit and run?
You need a criminal defense attorney. This is a serious matter that could result in life-changing consequences. Contact our office to get started today. We may be able to help.