Motor vehicle accidents can be chaotic and overwhelming, it can be hard to think straight immediately after being involved in one. However, in any circumstance, prematurely leaving the scene of an accident is a serious criminal offense that could lead to felony charges punishable by multiple years of imprisonment.
If you have been accused of fleeing the scene of a car accident, you should speak with a Hennepin County hit and run lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney could provide crucial assistance throughout your criminal case, from negotiating with prosecutors on your behalf and clearing up misunderstandings to mitigating the consequences you may face upon conviction.
Minnesota Statutes §169.09 establishes a number of actions that drivers in Hennepin County must take after they get into an auto accident. Most importantly, any person involved in an accident that leads property damage, physical injury, or death must stop their vehicle as close to the scene as possible and provide their name, registration plate number, address, and date of birth to all other parties involved. Furthermore, they must provide their insurance information to any involved party who requests it either at the scene of the accident or within 72 hours following the crash.
Any driver involved in an accident resulting in personal injury must make a report to local law enforcement or a State Patrol officer as soon as reasonably possible. This means they need to call 911 immediately after stopping their vehicle. If an accident results in personal injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage, all involved parties must draft or forward a written accident report to the commissioner of public safety no more than 10 days after the incident in question.
If necessary, a nearby hit and run attorney could help an individual comply with these requirements if they have not done already so, as this may help convince a court that their failure to do so previously was an honest mistake.
The penalties associated with a hit and run in Hennepin County depend on the severity of harm caused by the accident in question. Anyone who fails to provide personal information or prematurely leaves the scene following a collision that results only in property damage and/or minor injury may be charged with a misdemeanor offense, which could result in a maximum $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
However, if an auto wreck results in substantial bodily harm, a hit and run is punishable by up to $3,000 in fines and one year of imprisonment. Furthermore, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in great bodily harm, which involves permanent disability or disfigurement or potentially fatal injuries, is a felony offense punishable by a maximum fine of $4,000 and a maximum prison sentence of two years. A hit and run accident that results in someone’s death is also a felony, for which a conviction could lead to $4,000 in fines and a three-year prison sentence.
A hit and run conviction of any degree may additionally result in a license suspension, the duration of which falls to the discretion of the judge presiding over the case. A lawyer in the Hennepin County area could clarify for a particular defendant what types of repercussions they may be facing for fleeing the scene, as well as what could be done to reduce their severity.
As part of the duty of care you owe to other Hennepin County residents, you are expected to stop your vehicle, render aid as needed, and provide key information to various parties after a motor vehicle accident. Failing to fulfill any of these requirements could cause you to face not only civil liability, but likely criminal charges.
Representation from a Hennepin County hit and run lawyer could be critical to achieving a positive resolution in this kind of case. To schedule your initial consultation, call today.