Drivers must understand the legal repercussions of leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage. Failing to exchange information or report the incident as the law requires can result in hefty fines and points on your driving record. Knowing what's at stake is essential, as it can impact your finances, driving privileges, and insurance rates. By understanding the potential consequences, you'll be better prepared to take action and seek a just outcome to keep your record clear.
This article discusses essential information specifically for drivers in New York. It will define what actions constitute leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage without reporting. Additionally, it will highlight the options available to individuals who have been cited for this offense.
Legal Obligations After an Accident
In New York, the law concerning leaving the scene of an accident without reporting is New York Vehicle & Traffic Code § 600. This statute outlines the legal responsibilities of drivers involved in accidents, including those causing property damage.
Duty to Stop and Exchange Information
When a driver is involved in an accident resulting in property damage, they have a legal duty to stop and exchange information. This means that the responsible driver must immediately halt their vehicle at or near the location of the accident. They are then required to provide their driver's license and insurance information to the person whose property has been damaged. Additionally, they must furnish their name and address to the aggrieved party. These actions are essential for establishing accountability and facilitating the resolution of the situation.
Reporting the Accident to Law Enforcement
In some cases, property damage accidents occur when the owner is not present at the scene. In such instances, the at-fault party still has a legal obligation. They must report the incident to the local law enforcement agency, providing the same information to an officer as they would to the property owner. This step is crucial in ensuring that the accident is properly documented.
Consequences of Failing to Comply
Failing to fulfill these legal obligations, whether by not stopping to exchange information or neglecting to report the incident to the property owner or law enforcement, can have significant consequences. It can result in the issuance of a ticket, which may carry fines and other penalties. Therefore, drivers must be aware of these obligations and adhere to them to avoid legal troubles from leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene
Leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage is considered a traffic infraction under New York law, and it carries specific penalties and fines that drivers should be aware of.
Fines and Potential Incarceration
If a driver is found guilty of a hit and run involving property damage, they can face a maximum potential fine of $250. Additionally, there is the possibility of incarceration for up to 15 days.
Driver’s License Consequences
Beyond fines and potential jail time, a hit-and-run violation can also impact a person’s driving record. A conviction for leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage can result in three demerit points being added to their driver's license. Accumulating a certain number of points within a specified period can lead to driver's license suspension.
Getting Legal Assistance to Fight the Ticket
The government must meet specific criteria to secure a conviction in hit-and-run cases involving property damage.
A prosecutor is tasked with proving that the individual in question:
- Operated a vehicle,
- Knew that they had caused an accident resulting in property damage, and
- Either failed to provide the necessary information to the property owner before leaving the scene or did not report the accident to the police when the owner was absent.
Given the complexities of these requirements and the potential consequences of a hit-and-run conviction, it's imperative for individuals facing such allegations to consult with an attorney. An experienced lawyer can assess the facts, analyze the available evidence, and build a solid defense to counter the government's allegations.
At Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C., we understand traffic ticket law. Attorney Martin A. Kron, a former New York State Traffic Court Judge, brings invaluable experience to our practice. As a dedicated defense firm, we have handled numerous complex matters and know what it takes to build and argue cases effectively.
Schedule a consultation with us by calling (212) 235-1525 today.