Hit and Run – Charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

Harrisburg Vehicular Manslaughter Attorneys

Under §3742 of Chapter 37 of Pennsylvania state law, if you’re involved in a collision you’re required to stop and stay at the scene of the accident. If it is an injury accident, you’re also required to render aid to the best of your ability. You are also required to exchange information. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor and a felony if bodily injury or death is involved.

In certain situations, however, a driver may hit a pedestrian, bicyclist, or even another car and not realize what has happened. For example, if a larger vehicle like a SUV or pick-up truck hits a bicyclist or someone changing a tire, they may not even be aware someone has been hit. As a result, they may find themselves facing serious criminal charges on hit and run or worse if injuries or fatalities are involved.

Alcohol and Charges of Hit and Run

A large number of hit and run accidents – especially at night – involve drivers who have been drinking. Typically, a driver who has been drinking (but may not be drunk) flees the scene of an accident hoping to sober up before being reported by others who witnessed the crash. This is different from a case where a driver is drunk and doesn’t realize he or she has hit or injured someone. Here, the difference is important since what is at stake is the intent of the driver – did he or she knowingly and intentionally leave the scene of an accident?

In these kinds of cases, the prosecution may take a closer look at what you were doing prior to your hit and run accident. They may look at credit card activity to see if you were drinking; they may interview people who were with you shortly before you left in your car; they may even ask you to provide a sample of blood if they find you fairly quickly after your hit and run accident was reported. What you say to investigators and how you handle their requests for information can determine the strength of the case against you later.

Criminal and Civil Penalties – Additional Considerations

A good criminal defense attorney can often convince the court to reduce the charges or sentence against you depending on your driving and criminal record. There may also be important extenuating circumstances your defense lawyer can bring to the attention of the court during trial or the sentence phase if you are found guilty. For example, if you take medication that makes you drowsy, work a late shift, or suffer from certain psychological conditions, the court may be moved to reduce the sentence against you.

However, regardless of how the criminal charges against you are resolved, the person you hit (or injured) may decide to pursue monetary damages against you in civil court. As such, it’s important to begin building your defense for both possibilities.

Contact Harrisburg Hit and Run Defense Attorneys

A conviction for hit and run is a serious matter leading to the loss of your driver’s license, heavy fines, even jail. If you’ve been involved in or arrested for a hit and run accident, contact Harrisburg hit and run defense attorneys at Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLC today.

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