One of the most innate human instincts is the fight or flight response. When we are faced with something intimidating, dangerous or scary, there is a split second in which your body decides whether you should stand your ground and fight the obstacle or if you should protect yourself and flee from it. Though we do not have to rely on this instinct nearly as much anymore, some people can still be overtaken by it in stressful situations, say, such as a car accident. Fleeing the scene of a car accident is not only impolite, but it is also illegal and can lead to criminal charges.
Some people may think that they do not have to stop after an accident if nobody was hurt; that is not the case. By law, you must still stop if you get into an accident involving property damage and give the other driver your information, such as your name, phone number, vehicle registration number, and your complete insurance information. Failure to do so can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you could face up to one year in prison and a maximum of $2,500 in fines. The Secretary of State’s Office will also suspend your driver’s license if the damage to the other person’s vehicle is estimated to be more than $1,000.
If you flee from the scene of an accident that involved death or bodily injury, the consequences become more serious. By law, you are required to stop right away, provide help to anyone who needs it and exchange information with the other driver. You are also required to call 911 if someone is in serious condition and needs medical attention. If calling 911 is not necessary, you are required to report the accident to law enforcement within 30 minutes or risk criminal charges.
Fleeing from an accident involving bodily injury can result in a Class 4 felony charge. This means you face a maximum of three years in state prison and can even face up to $25,000 in fines. If you fail to report the accident to police, but there was no death involved, then you face a Class 2 felony, which carries a minimum of three years and a maximum of seven years in prison and a maximum of $25,000 in fines. If you fail to report the accident but there was a death involved, you face a Class 1 felony. In Illinois, a Class 1 felony conviction can mean a maximum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of $25,000 in fines.
In situations such as car accidents, sometimes our mind gets the best of us and we do things that we know are wrong. If you have fled from the scene of a traffic accident, it is crucial that you immediately contact a skilled DuPage County traffic accident defense lawyer right away. Not only are you facing expensive fines, but you also face jail time. At Myers Law LLC, we can help you fight these criminal charges and we will fight to keep you from a conviction at all costs. Call our office today at 844-984-3529 to schedule a free consultation.