remnants of accidentIf you’ve received a charge of leaving the scene of an accident, also sometimes referred to as a hit and run accident, in Eagle County, here are the steps you must take to resolve your case:

  1. Contact An Experience Leaving the Scene of An Accident Lawyer Immediately.Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal charge, which carries criminal consequences, so you should get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in traffic-related offenses as soon as you are able to after your accident.
  2. Conduct A Thorough Investigation of the Facts. It will be important to establish the facts in your case in order to determine what exactly happened, what you thought happened, and whether certain defenses might be available to you.
  3. Explore What Defenses You Might Have. Because you are facing criminal charges when you stand accused of a hit and run, there are a number of defenses that you may be able to raise based on your arrest. For instance, you are entitled to certain rights upon being arrested (i.e., reading of your Miranda rights, the right to an attorney, etc.), and if any of your rights were violated, your case may be thrown out at court. There are also a number of other defenses that could be raised based on the facts of your case, including improper adherence to protocol by evidence handlers or police, improper administration of any chemical tests at the scene of the accident, faulty lab work, etc. Your criminal defense lawyer will know which defenses are available to you after a detailed discussion of the facts and conducting a thorough investigation.
  4. Fight Your Charges. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal charge, which means that you will have a permanent criminal record if you are convicted. As such, it is important that you fight the charges against you.

If you’re from outside of Eagle County, you likely don’t have the time or energy to deal with this. Call us, and we’ll deal with it for you.

An Overview of Colorado Leaving the Scene of an Accident Laws

In Colorado, if you are involved in an accident you are required to stop your vehicle as soon as you are able (i.e., where it is safe for you to pull over) and remain at the scene. This includes situations where you are involved in what is typically referred to as a hit and run situation. What is required of you next depends on the seriousness of the accident.

  • If the accident is minor, no one is hurt and the police do not need to be called to the scene, you are required to exchange insurance information with the other driver before you may leave. The type of information that needs to be provided as part of the exchange between yourself and the other driver includes your name and address, if the vehicle is owned by someone else you must get or give their name and address as well, and the vehicle registration number. If no other driver is present, as in a situation where you may have hit an empty, parked car, you must leave your contact information on the vehicle or other property you damaged in a visible place where the owner of the property will see it.
  • If the accident is more serious, but no one is really hurt, you must exchange insurance information with the other driver, and must also wait until law enforcement arrives on the scene.
  • If the accident is fairly serious, and someone is injured, you have a legal duty to try and render aid to that person. This could mean calling an ambulance, making sure a witness or bystander calls for an ambulance, and rendering assistance as best you can for the injured individual. This is referred to as the duty to stop and render aid.

Failure to fulfill your legal responsibilities after an accident will result in criminal charges against you. There is a minor exception, and that is if you must leave the scene in order to contact the police. If you must leave the scene in order to contact the police, i.e., you need a pay phone and don’t have a cell, you may leave the scene to make the call, but then must immediately come back.

Potential Consequences for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Colorado

A conviction for leaving the scene of an accident can result in serious consequences, and the severity of the consequences depends on how significant the accident is and whether someone was injured or killed as a result of the accident. In particular:

  • If the accident only involves property damage (i.e., a dinged up car of totaled bicycle), leaving the scene of an accident is a class 2 misdemeanor, carrying a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000 dollars.
  • If the accident results in injuries to someone, leaving the scene of an accident is a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying a jail sentence of up to one year and a half and a fine of up to $5,000 dollars.
  • If the accident results in serious bodily harm to someone, leaving the scene of an accident is a class 5 felony, carrying a jail sentence of one to three years and a fine of up to $500,000 dollars.
  • If the accident results in the death of someone, leaving the scene of an accident is a class 4 felony, carrying a jail sentence of four to twelve years and a fine of up to $750,000 dollars.
  • Leaving the scene of any accident is serious enough that your driver’s license will be revoked as well by the Colorado DMV.

 

Don’t wait. We can help you get your ticket resolved so your can get back to what matters.

 
If you’re from outside of Eagle County, you likely don’t have the time or energy to deal with this. Call us, and we’ll deal with it for you.