If you are involved in a car accident in Rutherfordton, you are required to stop at the scene, according to North Carolina General Statutes §20-166. If you do not stop, you might face arrest and the penalties that come with a conviction. The consequences you may experience vary greatly depending on whether or not anyone was injured and several other factors.
You do not have to face the aftermath of an accident or arrest on your own. A criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help if you or someone you love is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident in North Carolina. With guidance and support from our legal team, you may be able to minimize the damage of an arrest and reduce the severity of the penalties of a conviction.
Penalties You Might Face if Convicted of Leaving the Scene
Leaving an accident scene without offering help to anyone who was injured and without providing your name, contact information, driver’s license number, and vehicle identification information is a criminal offense and may carry serious license and insurance ramifications including license suspension. Charges you might face include a Class 1 Misdemeanor if:
- The accident caused property damage but no injuries or fatalities.
- The accident caused injuries or fatalities you were not aware of.
You could also face Class F or Class H felony charges if you left the scene—even with the consent of a police officer—but failed to return if instructed to do so. Conviction on these charges might lead to the following penalties:
- Class 1 Misdemeanor conviction can include incarceration and possible financial penalties, according to North Carolina General Statutes §15A-1340.23.
- Class F Felony conviction can include incarceration for nearly five years in addition to financial penalties, according to the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission.
- Class H Felony conviction can include incarceration for more than three years in addition to financial penalties, according to the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission.
Because various factors might play a role in the penalties you face if you are convicted, one way to understand the range of penalties is to have a member of our legal team explain them to you. We can also help you understand your defense options and other avenues for reducing your sentence or the degree of your charges.
For a legal consultation, call 828.286.3866
Defenses to Leaving the Accident Scene
If you are involved in an accident in North Carolina, you are required to stop and remain at the accident scene unless you are unaware that an accident occurred. The only other exceptions that legally allow you to leave the scene include:
- A police officer completes his investigation and releases you to do so.
- Staying at the accident scene might cause you or others serious injuries.
You do not have to fight back against these criminal allegations without legal assistance. Our team will listen to your explanation for why you left the scene without judgment. We will also help you prove you had a valid reason for doing so. We can help you preserve your good name, avoid losing your license for up to two years, and get a fresh start building your future.
What the State Is Required to Prove
When the state charges you with leaving a car accident scene, it must prove you knew or should have known you were involved in an accident, no matter how major or minor.
It must also prove you left without intending to return instead of leaving to seek help or file a car accident report.
Our team can help you combat these charges by proving you had legal cause to leave the scene, that you intended to return, or that you were unaware that an accident had occurred.
When we represent you, our goal is to defend you, minimize the damage of conviction, or have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. We fight hard for a favorable outcome for every client we defend, and our team will fight hard for you and your future.
Get a Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side
Our criminal defense lawyer in North Carolina can help you build a defense to avoid a blemish on your criminal record or one that might show up on background checks. When you are ready to mount your defense, contact the case review team at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC. Call (828) 286-3866 today for immediate help with your criminal case.