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.