It has been said that “running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win.” This is true any time you make a mistake that gets you in trouble with the law. It is always better to face this situation head on, with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side who can begin minimizing the consequences that will only get worse if you try to ignore them.
The futility of running away from a bad situation is crystallized in Indiana’s criminal laws that punish hit-and-run drivers. If you’ve been involved in an accident and flee the scene, whether due to panic, confusion, or just poor decision making, the consequences can be severe, especially if someone has been hurt.
Stay at the Scene and Provide Assistance
Indiana drivers who get in an accident have legal obligations to remain at the scene and provide information and assistance to those who have been injured. Specifically, Indiana Code Sec. 9-26-1-1 requires that injuries or no injuries, you have to stay at the scene of the accident, speak to the other driver and provide them with your name, license, and registration. You need to notify law enforcement as well.
You need to determine whether anyone has been injured and requires medical assistance and provide for or seek that assistance while at the scene. The bottom line is this: do not leave the scene, and cooperate and help the other drivers involved in the accident.
Up to 12 Years in Prison for Hit-and-Run
If, however, you do not take the foregoing steps and decide instead to continue on your way, you won’t get too far before you wind up facing criminal charges, including felony charges if the injuries involved were serious. At minimum, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for a hit-and-run, and a Class A misdemeanor if you cause damage to the other driver’s car.
However, you will be charged with a Level 6 felony and face up to two and a half years in prison if the accident involves serious bodily injury to a person, a Level 5 felony with up to six years behind bars if the accident involves the death of a person, and a Level 4 felony that could lead to 12 years of incarceration if you were intoxicated and you cause serious bodily injury to anyone else involved in the accident.
If you were involved in an accident and decided to leave the scene rather than stay behind as required by law, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Indiana hit-and-run lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t face the ordeal of a hit-and-run on your own. Call me at 317-983-5333 for a free consultation.
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