PA Hit and Run Criminal Defense Attorney
We know that accidents happen. Over 125,000 motor vehicle accidents were reported in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2019. Approximately 990 crashes resulted in at least one fatality.
The accidents happened for a variety of reasons. Speeding caused the most significant number of crashes. Distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers, and reckless drivers were also major causes of auto wrecks in 2019.
You have specific duties as a driver in Pennsylvania when an accident occurs. Sometimes people panic and leave the scene of an accident in PA and do not comply with Pennsylvania law.
Why People Run From an Accident Scene
The reasons why people leave the scene of an accident vary. A hit-and-run in PA could happen when the driver panics and doesn’t know what to do at that moment. Other times, people flee from the site of a wreck because they should not be driving in the first place and are afraid of the ramifications of driving at that time. DUI, operating without a license, or texting while driving are just a few examples of why people leave a scene of an accident in Pennsylvania.
Facing a hit-and-run charge in PA could have severe consequences for you and your family. Not only do you face jail time and fines, but there are other consequences for leaving the scene of accident in PA. The State could revoke your license if you are convicted of a hit-and-run in PA. Your auto insurance premiums could skyrocket as well.
Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer Lauren A. Wimmer aggressively defends people who have hit-and-run charges in Pennsylvania. Lauren will explain all of your legal options and strategize to achieve the best results for you.
Pennsylvania law indicates that every person driving a motor vehicle that is involved in a collision must immediately stop and render aid. Rendering aid means helping anyone who needs assistance at the crash scene by attending to them, removing them from the wreck safely, or calling for emergency help. The duty to stop and render aid exists even if the injured person caused the crash. If the driver can’t stop immediately, they must stop as soon as they can and return immediately to the crash site.
Additionally, all drivers must stop and identify themselves at the crash scene. Each motor vehicle operator must give their correct name and address, show their driver’s license, and provide proof of financial responsibility for the car.
Finally, drivers have a responsibility to notify law enforcement of an accident that causes death, serious injury, or serious vehicle damage.
Pennsylvania law requires the driver to stay at the scene until they have performed all their duties. If not, then the police could bring a hit-and-run charge in PA.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of Accident in PA Involving Death or Personal Injury
The potential sentences vary depending on the severity of the injuries of the accident victim. The punishment for a hit-and-run causing personal injury is a first-degree misdemeanor, which has a five-year maximum prison term. The court could also place the person on probation and order them to pay restitution to the victim.
If the victim suffered a severe injury in the crash, then the person who committed the hit-and-run is guilty of a third-degree felony. The offender must serve 90 days in jail or prison without parole but could serve as long as seven years. The offender must receive a $1,000 fine as well.
Leaving the scene of an accident in PA, causing death is a significant offense. The person charged faces up to 10 years, with three years as a minimum-mandatory sentence, for a hit-and-run causing death. The court must impose a fine of at least $2,500 as well.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in PA Causing Damage to an Attended Vehicle or Property
Striking and damaging a vehicle that is attended or damaging other property requires a driver to stop immediately or as close as possible to the crash site. The driver needs to stay at the crash scene until they provide a driver license and insurance information.
Leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage or damage to an attended vehicle is a third-degree misdemeanor. The judge could punish the offender by handing down a one-year jail sentence and a fine not to exceed $2,500.
Hit-and-Run in PA Causing Damage to an Unattended Vehicle or Property
Hitting a parked car or other property means that the driver has to try to locate the owner of the property damaged. If that person cannot be found, then the operator must leave a name, address, proof of insurance, and registration number of the vehicle involved in writing. Next, the person must report the crash to the local law enforcement agency.
Hitting and damaging a parked car without stopping is a summary offense. The fleeing driver faces no more than 90 days’ imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $300.
Strong Defense for Your Leaving the Scene of an Accident in PA Case
Do not make your mistake worse by trying to resolve these matters by yourself. Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Lauen A. Wimmer is a highly regarded and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Lauren knows how to attack the Commonwealth’s case to minimize the possible repercussions or avoid a conviction altogether. Contact Wimmer Criminal Defense for a consultation today at 215-712-1212 to start planning your defense.