You were speeding when someone in front of you slammed on their brakes, so that you rammed the back of their car. You panicked and took off. After taking a deep breath, you drove back to the scene, but you are still charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to property.
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 that
1) You were the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident;
2) Damage to another’s vehicle resulted from the accident;
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 and rendered aid.
Leaving the scene is a Class A Misdemeanor., punishable by up to 364 days in jail. If convicted and the damages amounts to more than $1,000, the Secretary of State may also suspend your driver’s license.
If you are charged with leaving the scene, contact an experienced criminal or traffic law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove all the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt. What if you were simply trying to move your vehicle to safe location? It is not a violation to move your car off the highway to the nearest place that is safe and does not obstruct traffic, as long as you stay there until you have given information and rendered aid.
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 5/11-402
(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.)