Leaving the Scene of an Accident in New York

Fix My Ticket!

As a driver in New York, there are a number of legal requirements if you are involved in a car accident. All parties involved must stop and exchange their insurance information with each other before anyone is able to leave the accident scene. In the event that an injury or injuries occur, the police must be called and involved parties must wait for the police to arrive and write up a report on the accident. If driver’s do not abide by these requirements, they can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

How Bad Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in New York?

Leaving the scene of an accident in New York is a crime and can come with stiff penalties, which are dependent upon the severity of the crash and the injuries or fatalities that are involved.

Fleeing the scene of an accident has various penalties, including jail time. The amount of time that one will spend in jail for leaving an accident with no injuries is up to 15 days. However, if one leaves an accident with at least one injury, they can face up to a year in jail. Leaving accidents with serious injuries or fatalities is a felony and carries a jail sentence of up to seven years.

There are penalties other than jail time that are given for the crime of leaving the scene of an accident. These include fines, surcharges, points, license revocation, and criminal record.

With accidents that have property damage but do not have injuries, fines are from $0 to $250 for leaving the scene. Leaving accidents that involve injuries comes with fines of $250 to $5,000, and depends on the severity of the injuries. Surcharges of $88-$93, and 3 points on the driver’s license, are given to drivers who flee accidents with minor, or no, injuries.

Driver’s who leave accidents that involve injuries face the revocation of their driver’s license for up to one year, and, if convicted, will also have a permanent criminal record.

Types of Hit-and-Run Charges in New York

In New York, there are two statutes that involve leaving the scene of an accident, VTL 600-1a and VTL 600-2a.

Accidents that do not involve injuries and only involve property damage are classified as VTL 600-1a. This statute requires that drivers in property-damage only accidents must provide their driver’s license and insurance information with the other drivers. If accidents fall under this classification and there is under $1,000 worth of damage, there is no need to call the police.

Accidents that involve injuries are classified as VTL 600-2a. This statute necessitates that the police must be called and a police report filed, as well as an exchange of driver’s licenses and insurance between the involved parties. Both requirements must be completed under this statute. The statute is considered violated if even one requirement is neglected, and penalties will be dependent upon which violation has occurred. If both requirements are neglected, drivers’ will face two charges of the statute.

How to Fight Leaving the Scene of an Accident Ticket in NY

Leaving the scene of an accident, also known as hit-and-run, is a serious offense. However, there are valid defenses that can be used by a professional traffic law attorney for challenging a violation of VTL 600-1a.

One potential defense is known as “mistake of fact.” This defense can help the driver to receive a reduced charge. When using this defense, a driver is claiming that they were unaware they had hit a vehicle or that they thought there was no damage and were being waved on by the other driver. With one of these claims, the attorney is able to use the mistake of fact defense, and could potentially get lowered charges for their client.

Another potential defense for drivers charged with leaving the scene of an accident is due to custodial interrogation, when the driver makes a statement to a police officer. If this statement happens roadside and the driver feels that their statement was coerced, the attorney can claim that it was in violation of the driver’s Miranda rights. By using this defense, the attorney can potentially have their client’s statement excluded and prevented from being used in court.

Either defense could possibly be used against a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident. It is essential to work with an experienced traffic law attorney in order to provide drivers with the best defense for their claims.