Even if a crash was the fault of another motorist, failing to stop at the scene of an accident can have life-changing consequences. Under Pennsylvania law, anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle crash that results in injury, property damage or death must stop at the scene of the accident, provide identification and insurance information and lend aid to those who are injured. If you’ve been charged with a hit and run, it is essential to seek the counsel of a local criminal defense lawyer right away.
Penalties for Hit and Run in Pennsylvania
Being charged with a hit and run can lead to hefty fines, license suspension, probation and even jail time. Depending upon the level of damage and injury that was caused, penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary. If no one was injured but there was property damage, it may result in a misdemeanor hit and run charge, which usually involves fines and license suspension. If you left the scene of an accident that involved injury or death to another person, you may be charged with a third-degree felony and more. If you were in an accident that caused injury to another person or their property, they may sue you for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage. Many auto insurance companies will cancel your policy if you’ve been convicted of a hit and run.
Contact an Attorney to Defend Your Rights
A traffic violations lawyer will assess the facts of your case and the charges you are facing and advise you on the best course of action to take. Experienced attorneys are often able to get charges reduced or dismissed, but it is imperative that you are honest and upfront with your attorney.
In some circumstances, you may not be criminally responsible for leaving the scene of an accident. These circumstances may include:
Involuntary intoxication—If you were unknowingly drugged before getting behind the wheel, seeking the counsel of a lawyer who is well-versed in handling DUI cases is vital.
Emergency response—If you’re on the way to the hospital or involved in another type of emergency, it may be a valid defense for a hit and run.
Unaware of property damage or injury—If you did not realize that you hit another vehicle, object or person, your attorney may contend that you were unaware of the accident or injury.
Fighting hit and run charges can be complex. A skilled attorney will know how to develop a defense that protects your rights and advances your interests. Your lawyer will investigate the facts and evidence surrounding the incident, come up with a defense strategy, negotiate with prosecutors and represent your interests in court if need be.
At Carosella & Associates, our legal team is dedicated to providing top-notch legal representation to all our clients. If you’ve been accused of a hit and run, our experienced defense attorneys in West Chester pursue all avenues to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.