If you have been arrested for leaving after colliding in the District of Columbia, it is vital that you contact an experienced D.C. lawyer in order to maximize the potential to have your case dismissed. The attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel have extensive experience handling these charges within the District of Columbia with a successful track record.
A conviction of leaving after colliding can carry with it legal penalties as well as personal turmoil. While getting in a mere accident is not criminal in nature, leaving the scene can bring the weight of criminal charges against you as well as the judgment of others, let alone if your collision results in physical injury to another. These charges and the potential penalties can weigh heavily on the mind of someone who finds them self in this situation. It is imperative that you find a lawyer who is experienced in these matters and can guide you through the process.
What is Leaving After Colliding?
Often referred to as a “hit and run”, in the District of Columbia the leaving after colliding statute describes the actions one should take in the event of a collision where there is damage or injuries to a person or animal. It articulates that any person who operates or who is in physical control of a vehicle within the District who knows or has reason to believe that his or her vehicle has been in a collision shall immediately stop (D.C. Code § 50-2201.05(c)). If you find yourself in a collision as described above and you fail to stop/subsequently contact authorities or give identifying information to the injured or owner of damaged property, you may be in violation of this criminal statute.
Hit And Run Categories in DC
When discussing leaving after colliding, it is important to distinguish between the two most common categories that fall under the offense: damage to property and physical injury to an individual. This is a distinction in terms of law and potential penalties, as put forth in D.C. Code § 50-2201.05(c). If you have reason to believe that you have been in a collision and leave the scene, causing personal injury, you could face 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If you have reason to believe that you have been in a collision and leave the scene, causing property damage, you could face 30 days in jail and/or a $250 fine. Second-time offenders may face more severe penalties.
What Should I Do?
If you have received a letter from Metropolitan Police Department suggesting that you are suspected of violating this statute or are formally charged with leaving after colliding, it is vital that you contact an experienced DC criminal defense attorney promptly, keeping in mind that you have a constitutional right to remain silent to prevent self-incrimination. It is important to note that contrary to popular belief, intoxication, distraction, or no fault for the collision is not a defense. However, it can be an affirmative defense if the individual left due to a reasonable belief of his or her personal safety was at risk and contacted 911 as soon as reasonably possible.
Contact Bruckheim & Patel at 202-930-3464 for experienced representation in leaving after colliding matters.