The Consequences of Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Recently, around 3:00 in the afternoon, a taxi struck a Temple University student who was crossing a Philadelphia street. The vehicle left the scene, leaving her unconscious in the road. She was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Surveillance cameras in the area caught the collision on film, and police are now seeking the driver.
Pennsylvania law requires that a driver of any type of vehicle involved in an accident causing death or injury must remain at the scene until police or medical help arrives. Leaving the scene of an accident after someone is killed or seriously injured is a felony. Even if no one is injured, a driver must provide a name and address, registration, and driver’s license.
Under a recently amended section of the hit-and-run laws, leaving the scene of a fatal accident is considered a second-degree felony and those convicted could face up to 10 years in prison.
Fleeing the accident scene
People generally leave the scene of a collision for one of three reasons:
- Lack of awareness of the collision — A person might have unknowingly hit a mailbox, hedge or bicycle, or even a child or other pedestrian. In a situation where a driver is unaware of the collision, it is not considered a “hit-and-run.”
- Fear of arrest — A person may fear arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), driving without a license or on a suspended or revoked license.
- Desire to flee from angry drivers or witnesses — Some people flee when other drivers and/or witnesses are (or appear to be) threatening.
Leaving the scene of an accident, even if only property suffered damage, is a crime. Anyone found guilty of this crime faces the loss of driving privileges and possible incarceration.
If you are under investigation, or have been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, it is imperative to have skillful Berks County defense counsel craft your defense and protect your rights.