Washington DC Hit and Run Lawyer

Driving in Washington DC carries many privileges and responsibilities. All motor vehicles are dangerous objects, and any collision has the potential to cause serious injuries or even death. As a result, Washington DC law requires all motorists to stop at the scene of a collision and must contact the police in case of any property or personal damage.

A failure to follow these rules is a criminal offense. Even if you are not at fault for the accident, it is necessary to stop and ensure that everyone else involved is alright and to contact police so that they can make an official report. A violation is a serious matter. Even a first offense will create a criminal record, could require the payment of a fine, or may even see the court impose a jail sentence. Repeat offenders face enhanced penalties.

A Washington DC hit and run lawyer may be able to help you if you are facing allegations of leaving the scene of an accident. They can work to lead an independent investigation into the incident to determine if sufficient damage occurred to require a call to the police or to leave contact information with a property owner. An attorney could help to preserve your driving privileges and to protect your freedom.

The Requirements to Stop

Every collision involving a motor vehicle is a serious matter. Even at low speeds, these objects can impart massive force into other cars, passengers, and pedestrians. As a result, it is a rare collision that does not involve some form of property damage or personal injury. Even single car accidents require a driver to stop and contact the property’s owner.

According to D.C. Code §50-2201.05c, all drivers who believe that they are involved in a collision must immediately stop. If any person is injured because of that collision, a driver must call 911, remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives, and provide identifying information to the police and all other parties to the collision.

Similar provisions require a person to stop in case of property damage. People here have a duty to provide their identifying information to the property owner. If the property owner is not available, the person involved in the accident must call 911 and provide information concerning the incident. A Washington DC hit and run lawyer could help to explain the District’s laws concerning responsibilities following a collision and why police may believe that a person violated those laws.

The Consequences for a Hit and Run

Participating in a hit and run event is a criminal offense. Unlike many other offenses that a driver may commit while behind the wheel, leaving the scene of a collision is a matter for the criminal courts. According to D.C. Code §50-2201.05c, there are a variety of available penalties for a hit and run conviction that depend upon the exact circumstances of the collision.

The most serious penalties apply to a person who leaves the scene of a personal injury. Here, the court can impose a jail sentence of up to 180 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A prior conviction for this behavior increases the possible jail term to one year. Penalties for leaving the scene of property damage are less harsh but still carry serious consequences. Here, the maximum penalty for a first offense is a 30-day jail term, a fine of up to $250, or both. A subsequent offense raises the maximum jail term to 90 days.

It is also worth noting that the statute creates an affirmative defense. The law says that a defendant may argue at trial that they could not stay at the scene of a collision because the defendant’s safety or the safety of another person was in imminent risk. These defendants must also prove that they called 911 as soon as they were able. A Washington DC hit and run lawyer could help defendants to craft defenses to rebut a prosecutor’s case and to understand the potential penalties for a conviction.

Let a Washington DC Hit and Run Attorney Assist You

Hit and run incidents or leaving the scene of a collision as they are known in Washington DC law, are serious matters. All drivers have a duty to drive safely and to see to the wellbeing of many people who may suffer property damage or physical harm. A failure to do so is a criminal offense that could bring jail time, the payment of a fine, and will create a criminal record.

A Washington DC hit and run lawyer could help to prevent this from happening. They can work to investigate the seriousness of the incident. A collision with no apparent property damage or physical harm does not necessitate a call to the police or the leaving of a note.

In other cases, they may argue that you were at risk of serious harm by staying at the scene and made later attempts to contact police. In either event, a Washington DC hit and run lawyer could fight for your future. Contact an attorney today to learn more about leaving the scene of a collision in Washington DC.