If you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, I know you are extremely concerned about what could happen to you. If you are alleged to be involved in a hit and run, the case is much more serious if a person may have been injured, then if it is merely a case of leaving the scene of property damage.
Most of the time this charge is the result of hitting another vehicle where people inside the car may have been hurt. You can be charged if you strike a person who was walking or a person on a bicycle.
You can be charged with this offense even in cases where no one suffered any serious or significant injuries. Sometimes the police will overcharge this offense if there are other people involved just in case injuries arise, to cover themselves.
So the cases can tend to get complicated in court since the court. The Courts will want to hear from all interested parties and make sure that the severity of any injury is understood before the case is resolved. So, it is unlikely that you will be able to quickly plead out this case and get this case resolved immediately.
At a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing, the Clerk will be extremely careful to make sure any potential victim’s needs are covered.
Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of success getting these serious charges reduced to property damage claims. If I can get your charge reduced to leaving the scene of property damage, that means you aren’t at risk of a license suspension or jail time.
We can discuss the exact facts of your particular care and what I think the best strategy to work through these issues is in a free legal consultation.
Leaving The Scene an Accident of Personal Injury – Penalties
Under Massachusetts law §90.24(2)(a1/2)(1) , if you leave the scene where you caused a personal injury, you face penalties of
- up to two years in jail,
- a 1-year license suspension and
- fines of up to $1000.
Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury
Brockton – Charge Reduced to
Taunton – Charge Reduced to
Cambridge – No Complaint Issued
Dismissed after 6 months
Waltham – Leaving Scene of Injury Dismissed
Leaving scene of Property Damage Dismissed
6 months later
Stoughton – CWOF on Injury Charge
Property Damage Dismissed
Lawrence – Dismissed after 6 months
No conviction, no license loss
Framingham – Dismissed after 7 months
No license suspension
The law calls for a minimum sentence of 6 months in jail if convicted, although it can be suspended – meaning you usually don’t have to serve jail time even if you lose the case.
Unless the injuries caused in the accident are substantial, serving jail time is rare, so I don’t want to scare you. But it is a serious charge.
You are also not eligible for a Continuance without a finding, or CWOF in an accident with an injury case. You must plead guilty, and not just accept that the evidence is sufficient to find you guilty, which is the standard for a CWOF. This can be a problem since a criminal record can harm your job and your future.
You will also face a minimum 1-year loss of your driver’s license. You cannot apply for Massachusetts license reinstatement until one year has passed. It is also possible for the Registry to revoke the registration for any vehicle you own after a guilty finding.
If the injuries are serious enough, the district attorney could also indict you in Superior Court though this doesn’t happen very often. While the maximum penalties aren’t higher under the statute if the case is heard in Superior Court, judges are much more likely to sentence you at the higher end of the sentencing spectrum.
If this offense is related to OUI charges it gets even more complicated, but we have represented clients in serious matters like this as well.
Winning A Leaving The Scene Of An Injury Case
Most leaving the scene cases start with a criminal citation to appear at a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing. I literally wrote the book on fighting and winning at these hearings, and these types of cases can get a little complicated.
Criminal charges involving an injured party are some of the toughest to win at a clerk’s hearing. To win this hearing, we will have to convince the Clerk Magistrate that either:
- There was no significant injury; or
- Prove any victims are completely taken care of and there is no financial compensation necessary or medical bill payments outstanding.
The Clerk simply won’t drop the case if there is an outstanding unresolved matter of an injured 3rd party. So research and preparation are key.
If we lose the hearing, we still have options. If you are arraigned and a charge is issued, I will try to work with the prosecutor to find a way to avoid the personal injury charge. If we can address any and all concerns about any alleged injured party, we can hopefully get the charged reduced to hit and run with property damage, and, therefore, avoid the mandatory license loss and criminal conviction.
These cases are sensitive matters that often require a delicate negotiation and a lot of preparation. We can discuss all of that in a consultation, in person or over the phone.
Can I get my car repaired without incriminating myself?
I know the seriousness of a criminal hit and run charge, the possible penalties, and risk of loss of driver’s license are your primary concern. But there are other mundane, practical questions to be answered.
How do I get my car repaired without admitting and accident and screwing up my case?
The answer is yes if you do it correctly. I deal with insurance and accident issues here.
Why Hire Us?
As I noted before, I wrote a book on winning these hearings. We do more leaving the scene cases at our firm than any other criminal defense firm in Massachusetts.
We have a demonstrated record of success in helping our clients avoid serious consequences for leaving the scene of personal injury charges. And those consequences can be severe. You want to avoid the 1 year loss of license and risk of jail time if you are found guilty.
Fortunately, I have done well in many recent cases in getting the charges reduced or dismissed, and taking the license loss and risk of jail time off the table.
I have been interviewed by the media in these cases, such as in the case of former New England Patriot Brandon Spikes. He was accused of this charge after hitting another car on the highway and abandoning his vehicle.
I did not represent Mr. Spikes, but I correctly predicted on the air that in spite of a fairly serious accident and a brief hospitalization of the victims, Mr. Spikes’ attorney worked out a deal and there was never a threat of jail time.
Call for a Consultation on Any Leaving the Scene of Injury Case
If you are accused of this charge, whether you were arrested or issued a criminal citation, please contact me immediately. I know how to defend against these charges.
We can help. Call me now to find out what I can do for you.