Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Michigan
A mom is out grocery shopping and bumps the car next to hers. She sees only slight damage to the other car and goes about her day shopping.
A teenage driver hits a mailbox while backing out of a friend’s house and keeps on going.
A professional driving to work in the middle of the night hits a deer or small animal. He stops but goes off to work. Later, he learns that he hit and killed a bicyclist.
These are real examples of cases that Geherin Law Group has defended in the past year. All of them ended up in charges of “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” (or what is commonly referred to as “Hit and Run.”). These cases ranged from misdemeanor charges to 15-year maximum felony offenses. Each client faced not only driver’s license sanctions, but also a criminal conviction and the real prospect of jail/prison or other loss of freedoms.
In Michigan, Leaving the Scene of an Accident statutes punish people who are involved in an accident who do not stop and provide the required information to the other driver or most proximate police department. However, even the term “Accident” can be vague, leaving a driver uncertain about what her obligations are following a minor incident. “Knowledge” of the accident provides another grey area, especially if the driver does not realize the extent of the accident. Further, drivers are often unaware of their reporting requirements (after all, when was the last time you heard a public information message telling these people what do in the event of a minor accident, similar to seatbelt use ((‘click it or ticket’)) or texting/driving ((‘it can wait, as it’s against law’)). Lastly, what information is even required to report, other than a name and insurance information? This ambiguity can lead to a separate charge, called “Fail to Report an Accident,” still a misdemeanor.
Leaving the Scene/Failing to Report charges range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending upon the type of accident. For example, leaving an accident resulting in damage only to a fixture is a misdemeanor carrying no license consequences. Leaving an accident resulting in property damage to another car is a misdemeanor carrying with it 6 points on a driver’s master record. And leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death are felony charges, resulting in possible imprisonment and complete suspension or revocation of driving privileges.
Dan Geherin, owner of the Geherin Law Group PLLC. in Ann Arbor, has defended hundreds of Leaving the Scene/Failing to Report cases in his 22+year career. Dan has a long, verifiable track record of success defending these allegations, both in terms of trial victories, voluntary dismissals and successful negotiations. He’s also a driver’s license specialist (see his website, MiLicenseLawyer.com), so he knows how to answer questions about license consequences and help client avoid the pitfalls of these charges and the effect they have on a person’s ability to drive.
If you’re being investigated or charged with “Hit and Run” allegations, please contact Dan, a criminal defense attorney in Washtenaw County, immediately. We’ll thoroughly explain the laws and determine whether a viable defense exists for your charge.
Schedule a free consultation online at glgmichigan.com or call (734) 263-2780 (we’re open 24/7).
GLG Michigan: Defending Driving/Traffic allegations throughout Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and Southeastern Michigan.