Avoiding Criminal Charges in an Accident Case

by mollyp on August 23, 2013

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(US law ) Car accidents are traumatic events. They are frightening, time-consuming and potentially injurious to yourself and others. A car accident can cost you money in increased insurance rates and repairs. And, if things go very badly, you could risk losing your freedom if the police charge you with a crime in relation to the accident. Here are some tips to avoid being charged with a crime after a car accident.
Never Leave the SceneAfter you’ve been in an accident, there are things you must do to confirm your safety and that of anyone else
Even if the wreck doesn’t seem serious, with no obvious injuries and just minor damage to the vehicles, you should stay involved in the accident. You should also properly document the event for police and the insurance companies. What you should never do is leave the scene of the accident.

Never just drive away. If you don’t report the incident to law enforcement, you have committed a crime. You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you fail to stop and give aid. If it turns out someone is injured or killed, you can be charged with a felony. If someone’s injured, you are legally obligated to provide assistance. Just remember, always stick around and call the insurance company and 911.Remaining at the scene can also protect you from fraud by the other driver. If you don’t report the incident to the police, the other driver could end up running out on you or accusing you of fault. Without a police report, you have no proof of what actually happened. Have Documents

You must be able to show:

  • your driver’s license
  • car registration document
  • proof of current insurance
If you can’t show these things, you face a possible misdemeanor charge, ticket or fine.
Admit NothingAfter an accident, it’s wise to stay calm. Always express concern toward the other driver. And never tell anyone the incident was your fault. When you say that, you’re admitting liability and exposing yourself to lawsuits or criminal penalties. Be concerned for others, but protect yourself as well. Do not sign any documents except for a traffic ticket, if required.

Always Sign the Ticket

If you’re given a ticket, sign it. It doesn’t confer guilt on you. You can appear in court later to contest the ticket. However, if you don’t sign it, you can be arrested on the scene. If you do receive a ticket, talk to a lawyer before paying the fine or pleading guilty to any charges.

Get Your Story Straight

As difficult as this may seem, do your best to remember exactly what happened. Figure out what you were doing just before the wreck and where the other driver was. Keep your account consistent. Find any witnesses and get their names and contact information.

Gather All Relevant Information

Make sure you write down everything important about the incident. This includes:

• A detailed diagram of the accident if possible and a note about weather, light and road conditions

• The other driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number and insurance company
• Details about the other car’s make, model, vehicle ID number and license plate number
• Details about the other car’s registered owners, if not the driver
• Names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident
• The police officer’s name and badge numberHire a Criminal Defense LawyerIf, in spite of your best efforts, you are charged with a crime at the scene of an accident, be sure to hire an experienced legal representation, whether that means a Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer or Chicago criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

To avoid criminal charges after a car accident, it is important to remain at the scene, ensure the safety of everyone involved, and gather all relevant information. Be sure to cooperate with the police fully. In the aftermath, consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights if you think you might be charged with a crime.

Molly Pearce is a freelance author and artist who often addresses the issues of law and human rights in her  works. For this article some of her research came from the site of Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer firm, Steinger, Iscoe, & Green. Through their defense of charged individuals and their informative website they also strive to preserve human rights and educate individuals on the ins and outs of criminal law.
Born with a Passion for art, music, fun, fashion, adventure, blogging, and life lived to the fiercest! A great variety of educational, professional, and personal experience has gifted me an open mind, strong heart, and a wealth of stories to tell. Concerned with human rights and the state of the natural world. Thriving on the fresh, thoughtful, healthy, and hilarious.

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