Hire a Criminal Law Attorney in Sioux Falls, SD After a Hit and Run Accident

by | May 26, 2020 | Lawyers

In all jurisdictions, laws make it illegal for one involved in an auto accident to leave the scene. These laws are there to offer help to the injured, and to give involved parties a chance to exchange insurance and identification information. Moreover, these laws prevent at-fault parties from escaping civil and criminal liability arising from an accident.

Cases Involving Property Damage

If an accident damages someone’s property such as a parked vehicle, tree or mailbox, the at-fault driver should make every effort to find the property owner. In most cases, leaving a note with the driver’s insurance and identification information is sufficient.

When a Passenger or Pedestrian is Hurt

Responsible motorists have a duty to render aid during an accident; this applies equally to passengers and pedestrians. Drivers must remain at the accident scene until law enforcement authorities arrive, and they should consider hiring a Criminal Law Attorney in Sioux Falls, SD.

When an Animal is Injured

If someone’s pet is injured in an accident, drivers are still obligated to render aid. Although pets are still regarded as property, drivers must still exchange information. If the pet dies, the owner has incurred a property loss, and the driver is liable.

Punishment for Leaving the Accident Scene

  * Accidents without injury: In most areas, leaving the accident scene after minor property damage is a misdemeanor offense. These crimes can be punished with large fines and a jail sentence of up to one year.

  * Accidents with injuries: The penalties are more severe when one leaves the scene of an injury accident. This doesn’t necessarily mean larger fines or longer prison sentences, but having a felony record is more serious than having a misdemeanor.

  * Fatal accidents: In all jurisdictions, it’s a felony to leave the accident scene if the crash resulted in someone’s death.

Exceptions to the Rule

These laws only apply to drivers; passengers and witnesses can leave the accident scene if they choose to do so. If a driver is incapacitated, they are not obligated to exchange information or render aid.

Finding Legal Help

Leaving an accident scene before offering insurance and identification information and rendering aid can result in severe criminal liability. Moreover, injured parties may pursue legal claims. If one is facing charges of leaving the accident scene, they should call Lockwood & Zahrbock Kool Law Office to speak to a Criminal Law Attorney in Sioux Falls, SD right away.

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