Getting caught in a car accident can be an intimidating ordeal for anyone. Matters get even more nerve-wracking if you believe that you are to blame, or that your motor control was possibly hampered by some drinks you had earlier in the night. For many people, the anxiety triggers the “fight or flight” reflex and they decide to leave the scene of the accident at once. This is always the wrong decision.
Leaving the Scene is a Felony
After being in a car accident, all drivers are required by law to stay at the scene until adequate identifying information is exchanged with all concerned parties. For the most part, this means swapping insurance information, making certain that everyone is okay, and going about your way. If you leave the scene before this can be completed, you have just committed a Class C felony.
In Alabama, a Class C felony can be penalized with:
- Up to 10 years in jail
- Minimum 1 year jail sentence
- Up to $15,000 in fines
- 6-month driver’s license revocation
The safe bet is to wait at the scene of the accident until law enforcement or medical professionals arrive. You might be incredibly nervous that you will be pinned with a DUI or blamed for the accident, but it is still better than leaving the scene or running from the law. The moment you decide to flee the scene before exchanging information, you have committed a crime that is difficult to defend, whereas a DUI charge would, theoretically, be much easier to challenge.
From a personal injury standpoint, if you try to escape the scene, insurance companies can interpret it as your admission of guilt and tack full liability onto you. It is therefore in your and everyone else’s best interests that you stay at the scene of the accident until you are permitted to leave or exchanged necessary information. Not only will you help put the other driver’s mind at ease, but you will also be minimizing the potential charges and liability you could face later.
If you are accused of a DUI in Alabama, or even for leaving the scene of an accident early, you can take steps to defend yourself from the legal consequences. Get a free case analysis with our Birmingham criminal defense attorney from Tidwell Law Group, LLC to learn more.