There are so many causes of vehicular accidents that sometimes it is impossible to prevent one from happening. When you are responsible for an accident, it can catch you by surprise, leading to panic, anxiety and rash decisions. You may end up fleeing the scene due to fear.
There is lots of information available on what you should do after getting into an accident, including if the other motorist drives off. But what if you are that hit-and-run driver? What happens after the police arrest you?
Possible penalties for a hit-and-run
The legal consequences you may face in Maryland depend on the circumstances of your accident, such as what or who else was involved and how much damage it led to.
- Minor property damage: If you simply hit someone's mailbox or a parked car and do not contact the property owner, then you may only receive a fine and points against your driver's license. Jail time is a possibility but unlikely, unless the damage was extensive.
- Minor bodily injury: If someone else becomes injured, whether the accident involved another motorist or a pedestrian, then your actions are a misdemeanor. Possible penalties include a fine, jail time and loss of your license and vehicle registration.
- Major bodily injury or death: A hit-and-run resulting in major physical harm or death is a felony, which comes with higher fines and longer jail time. A felony conviction also has more long-term effects on your future.
The serious consequences of leaving an accident require a serious defense to avoid them.
Call a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. The longer you wait to hire legal counsel, the more likely you are to make more mistakes and the worse penalties you may suffer. Hiring a Maryland attorney may result in reduced or even dropped charges. A lawyer can help with a future expungement, if applicable, as well.