Leaving the scene of an accident – also referred to as a “hit-and-run” – can be a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the extent of the damage or injuries suffered by those involved. These charges are standard when a driver hits another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a cyclist and fails to stop after the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident charges only apply to drivers, not passengers.
If you were charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you may be facing severe consequences, including fines, jail time, and even prison. Leaving the scene of an accident that involved property damage to another vehicle, a home, a business, or other personal property, is a Class A misdemeanor. You could face up to 364 days in jail, a fine up to $2,500, and having your driver’s license suspended.
If someone is killed or injured in the accident and you leave the scene, the charge may be upgraded to a Class 4 felony. If you don’t report the accident within a half-hour of it occurring, the charge increases to a Class 2 felony. These felonies are punishable by prison time and a fine up to $25,000, and license revocation.
At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, our skilled Chicago hit-and-run defense attorneys know how to mount an effective defense against hit-and-run and other serious traffic offenses. With 30 years of experience, Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC will fight tirelessly to help you obtain the best possible outcome of your case. Call us today at (312) 644-0444 to schedule a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I've Been Charged with a Hit and Run offense?
If you’ve been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you should seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will thoroughly assess the details of your hit-and-run case and will determine the best course of action for your defense.
There could be several reasons why you did not file a report or did not stop following your accident. You may have been injured in the accident, or perhaps you were confused, resulting in your failure to stop. You could have been unaware that an accident even happened. Another possible justification is that you believed your life would be in danger by remaining at the scene of the accident.
One effective strategy that attorneys employ is proving that you were completely unaware of the accident in question. A lawyer may also be able to demonstrate that your rights were violated at the time of your arrest. If the police officer who arrested you did not follow protocol, for example, it may be possible to get your charges dropped.
It’s important to know that not everyone accused of leaving the scene of an accident is guilty. Police officers make mistakes, and, in some cases, there is not enough evidence for the prosecution to obtain a conviction. Sometimes the driver was not aware that a collision with another vehicle or person even happened. Whatever your hit-and-run situation may be, you must take steps toward protecting your rights by hiring an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney.
Why Choose Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC to Handle My Case?
Since 1990, Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has provided the absolute best legal service to those in need of assistance, and we have always treated clients as we would want to be treated ourselves. Three decades later, we have grown from one attorney into a highly skilled legal team with multiple offices, serving the entire state of Illinois. Over 20,000 satisfied clients have put their trust in us over the last 30 years.
Our founding attorney, Mitchell S. Sexner, holds an “AV Preeminent” rating from the prestigious nationwide legal rating service Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Sexner has been recognized by “Who’s Who” in American Law, named to The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys, and has secured admission to the U.S. District Courts in Illinois, Hawaii, Texas, and Wisconsin.
When you choose to place your confidence in Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we take that responsibility very seriously. Advocating on your behalf is an honor to us, and we will work tirelessly toward a favorable result for you. If you are dealing with a hit and run case, please don’t hesitate to call us at (312) 644-0444 to schedule a free and confidential consultation so we can discuss your legal options.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident: What Are the Charges?
At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we've defended individuals who are facing a wide range of charges, including:
- Hit-and-Run Involving Property Damage (Attended Vehicle). Under Illinois law (ILCS 5/11-402), if you were the driver of the vehicle involved in an accident that resulted only in damage to a vehicle driven or occupied by another driver, you must immediately stop at the accident scene or as close to it as you can and remain at the scene until the police arrive. Violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted, and the damage to the vehicle is greater than $1,000, your license will be suspended.
- Hit-and-Run Involving Property Damage (Unattended Vehicle): If you were the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle that is unattended, you must immediately stop at the scene or as close as possible, according to Illinois law (ILCS 5/11-404). You must locate and notify the owner of the property and provide your name and contact information and the registration number of your vehicle. If this isn’t possible, attach a written notice with this info to the damaged vehicle and notify law enforcement. Violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Hit-and-Run Causing Personal Injury or Death: Under Illinois law, Section 11-401, a hit-and-run for an accident causing another person to suffer injury or death can be a Class 4 felony in some instances, which is punishable by up to three years in prison and $25,000 in fines. If you fail to report the accident soon afterward, you could be charged with a Class 2 felony (if someone is injured), or a Class 1 felony if someone is killed.
- Hit-and-Run Involving Alcohol: You could be required to submit to chemical testing of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance if you are suspected of causing personal injury or death if you are arrested for violating Section 11-401. If you fail the test, your driving privileges will be suspended. If you refuse to undergo testing, your license will be subject to statutory summary revocation under Section 11-501.1.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we get a lot of questions from clients regarding hit-and-run accidents. Below we compiled a few of the most common questions that people ask. We hope you find our answers useful. If you have further questions about leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois, don’t hesitate to call us any time at (312) 644-0444.
What happens if you leave the scene of the accident in Illinois?
If you leave the scene of an accident in Illinois, you may face criminal charges. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident – no matter who is at fault, and especially when the collision results in death or severe injury.
Every driver in Illinois has a legal duty to exchange contact information following an accident and to provide assistance, if necessary, to those who have been injured. Depending on the circumstances, the other party may face misdemeanor or felony charges if they leave the accident scene.
What are my obligations after a crash in Illinois?
When you operate a vehicle on Illinois roads, you assume specific duties. One of these responsibilities is, in the case of an accident that causes property damage, injury, or death, to stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of an accident. According to ILCS 5/11-401, drivers who are involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to another person or vehicular damage must:
- Stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident immediately
- Exchange contact information with the other parties in the accident
- Help an injured person to receive emergency medical care
- Remain on the accident scene until the matter is resolved
What must the prosecution prove in a hit-and-run case?
To convict you of leaving the scene of the accident, prosecutors must be able to establish that you are guilty of each element of the crime. They must prove that:
- You drove the vehicle that was involved in an accident
- The accident caused another individual to suffer property damage, injury, or death
- You drove away from the accident scene without exchanging information with the other parties involved, checking to see if anyone needed medical attention or waiting for police to arrive.
Contact a Chicago Leaving the Scene of an Accident Lawyer
Under Illinois law, hit-and-run accidents must be reported. If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it to the authorities, you may be facing jail or prison time, costly fines, and license revocation.
Being arrested and charged with any crime can be extremely stressful and confusing. To help deal with the stress you may be experiencing, an experienced Chicago traffic violation defense lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can give you the information you need regarding your charges.
Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC will fight to protect your rights and your freedom. If you or someone you know has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois, contact us today at (312) 644-0444 to schedule a 100% confidential consultation with us today.