Is it a Crime to Leave the Scene of an Accident in New York?

Most of us know that after we’re involved in a car accident, we need to stop at the accident scene. There, we need to check on others involved and exchange contact and insurance information. But what happens if you don’t stop? Or maybe someone stole your car, caused an accident and kept on driving, and now you’re the one to blame?

Situations like this happen. Sometimes drivers are too scared to stop, for fear of serious legal trouble. But refusing to stop at an accident scene—commonly known as a hit and run accident—is a crime in itself. You could face serious charges like vehicular manslaughter if your actions caused someone to die.

Is Leaving the Scene of an Accident a Crime in NY

What the Law Says

Under the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 600, if a driver is involved in an accident that led to property damage or personal injury, then he or she must remain at the accident scene at least long enough to exchange information with the other driver(s) involved as well as provide information to the police.

Drivers involved in an accident, regardless of fault, must provide the following information to the other driver(s):

  • Name
  • Address
  • Driver’s license
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information

If the police have been called to the scene, then you should stay at the accident scene until they arrive. This is in your best interest because they will ask for your side of the story. If the other driver claimed that you caused the crash, even though the other driver ran a stop sign and was clearly at fault, you have an opportunity to prove otherwise.

Penalties for Leaving an Accident Scene

Depending on the damage caused by the accident, if you leave an accident scene and are later caught by police, you could face charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. If there no injuries involved—just vehicle damage—then you could be convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

If the accident results in injury, you could be convicted of a Class E felony. This is the least serious felony, but could still result in 1-4 years of jail time, as well as thousands of dollars in fines. If the accident results in death, you could face Class D felony charges. You could spend as long as seven years in jail and pay fines on top of that. Depending on your criminal record, your penalties could be even more severe.

Accused of Leaving an Accident Scene? Contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis Today

In cases that involve death, leaving an accident scene can result in a felony. This is a serious crime that can affect your life significantly. You don’t want to have such a crime on your record, so you need a solid defense.

George Vomvolakis is a criminal defense lawyer who can help reduce your penalties and possibly even drop the charges you face altogether. To request a free consultation, call us today at (212) 682-0700 or complete the online contact form.