Leaving The Scene of Personal Injury
Car accidents are stressful and frightening. You are worried about your car, your insurance and whether or not you or the other driver are injured. The best course of action is always to stay and exchange information with the other driver and wait for the police to arrive. However, sometimes fear or nerves take over. If you have been charged with leaving the scene of personal injury it is important to understand the charge, the possible penalties and your possible defenses.
To prove someone guilty of Leaving the scene of personal injury in Massachusetts, the prosecutor must show that:
- The defendant operated a vehicle
- On a public way (any roadway that the public has access to)
- That the defendant collided with or otherwise injured another person
- That the defendant knew they collided with the other person
- That after the collision or injury the defendant did not stop and and make known their name, home address, and the registration number of the vehicle M.G.L. Chapter 90, Section 24(2) (a1/2)(1)
The extent of the injury is not relevant except to show whether or not the defendant was aware a col-lision occurred. In other words, the severity of the injuries or lack of severity can not be used to show guilt. However, if the injuries are very serious it can be used to show that its likely the defendant knew the accident occurred and vice versa if the injuries are comparatively minor a defense attorney may be able to argue that the defendant was not aware a collision even occurred.
The District Attorney's Office takes leaving the scene of personal injury charges seriously and will aggressively pursue the case. Under the statute the maximum penalty is two years in jail and a $1,000 fine. The statute also imposes a mandatory minimum of six months in jail, $500 fine and a one-year license loss.
The statute does not allow for a continuance without a finding even on a first offense. This means that if you were to accept a plea on the charge you would have to plead guilty.
The RMV does not have the authority to grant a hardship license on a guilty finding for leaving the scene of personal injury. However, you may be able to appeal the suspension the the Board of Appeals. You will need to show that you have an otherwise good driving history and a genuine need for your license.
Depending on the facts of your case your attorney may be able to argue:
- That you were not aware you were involved in a collision, especially if the collision and resulting injuries were comparatively minor.
- That you were not on a public way at the time of the collision. This type of defense would be used in cases where the colision occurs on private property.
- That you were not the one driving the vehicle at the time.
This is not an exhaustive list of all possible defenses available. Your attorney will be able to review the facts in your case to present your best defense.
If you have been charged with leaving the scene of personal injury you are facing a mandatory minimum jail sen-tence. It is critical for you to discuss your case with an attorney. The attorneys at DelSignore law are experienced in driving offenses and can be reached at 781-686-5924 to discuss your case. For more reading on leaving the scene charges head to our page discussing the penalties for other Leaving the Scene charges "What are the penal-ties in Massachusetts for leaving the scene of an accident?"