Illinois law requires that any driver involved in a motor vehicle accident must stay at the scene, file a police report and/or call for assistance. The law further requires that you reasonably assist any injured person including carrying that person to medical help, if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
But what if you didn’t know you’d hit a pedestrian or hurt anybody?
As with most crimes, the state must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A recent Illinois court held that the state must prove that you knew you’d been in an accident that caused injury to a person. In other words, because the statute requires you to help an injured person, you must first be aware that there was someone needing help. Under prior law, the state only had to prove that you had been in an accident. (See People v Meuris.)
In accidents involving injury or death, a failure to stop can lead to a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison. If you also fail to file a police report, you may be charged with a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years. If the other party died, you are now subject to a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4 to 15 years. When the accident only involves property damage, you may still be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail plus a fine. Failing to give assistance is also a Class A misdemeanor.
If you are charged with Leaving the Scene, DUI or a related offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your situation for your best possible defense. As with most criminal charges, the state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state show you knew you’d been in an accident or hit a pedestrian?
If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)