Let’s say you were distracted by some family problems, ran a stop sign and hit a car that was already in the intersection. You panicked and drove away. The officer somehow tracked you down, and now you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death.
What does that mean? What can you do?
In Illinois, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene of an accident, provide information and render aid. To convict you, the state must prove:
1) You were the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident;
2) The accident resulted in death or personal injury (personal injury is defined as any injury requiring immediate professional treatment in a medical facility or doctor’s office);
3) You knew an accident had occurred;
4) You failed to immediately stop your car at the scene or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary; and
5) You failed to remain at the scene until you gave information, such as your name, address and insurance, and rendered aid.
You may also be subject to testing for alcohol or drugs. If you refuse the testing, the Secretary of State can suspend your license, and you could still be charged with DUI.
If you are charged with leaving the scene, contact an experienced criminal or traffic law attorney immediately. An attorney can probe for weaknesses in the state’s case. Can the state prove you drove rather than someone else in the car? Did you know an accident had occurred? Were you unable to stop at the scene and on your way to returning? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea bargain than you can on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reference: 625 ILCS 5/11-401
(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.)