In the event of a car accident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is the law for all parties involved to stop their vehicles and exchange contact and insurance information. However, there are many reasons why motorists flee from the site of an accident: panic, problems with their insurance policy or license, or simply not realizing they were involved. Get help from a Quincy, MA criminal defense lawyer.
Pulling over when an accident occurs is common sense, but what could happen if you did not? In addition to receiving traffic penalties, having your driver’s license suspended or revoked, paying legal fines, serving probation, or even going to jail may result from committing a hit-and-run. If you cause property damage or someone is injured, and you flee the accident scene in Massachusetts, you could face criminal charges.
When does hitting and running become illegal in Massachusetts?
Stopping at the collision site and providing your full name, address, and car registration information is mandatory under Massachusetts law. This holds regardless of whether or not you collide with a moving target. If you were involved in a collision and did not stop to exchange information with the other party (such as the other driver, the property owner, the injured bicyclist or pedestrian, or the police), you could face charges of abandoning the scene of an accident. If you cause an accident in Massachusetts, you must stop immediately and provide your information to the police.
What are the legal repercussions of a hit-and-run in the Bay State?
Massachusetts law makes it illegal to flee the scene of an accident, regardless of whether anyone was hurt or property was damaged. However, legal repercussions will vary depending on the extent of the damage and the offender’s criminal history. In Massachusetts, abandoning an accident scene carries the following penalties:
- Accidents involving merely property damage carry a maximum fine of $200, a maximum jail time of two years, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least sixty days if you flee the scene.
- If you abandon the location of an incident in which someone was hurt but not killed, you could be subject to a penalty of as much as $1,000, jail time of up to two years, and a license suspension of at least one year.
- If you cause someone else’s death while driving, you might be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in jail, fined up to $5,000, and have your license suspended for at least 3 years if you flee the accident scene.
The sanctions will escalate if this is not your first infraction.
When I get hit, will a lawyer in Massachusetts be able to help me?
Massachusetts has harsh penalties for hit-and-run, so it is important to have an experienced defense attorney on your side.