You can hire an attorney to get a Leaving the Scene of an Accident ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record.
What Is “Leaving The Scene Of An Accident”?
“Leaving The Scene Of An Accident” or “Hit & Run” means the driver did the following:
- Driver was involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury, death, or damage to property, and
- Driver was aware of the accident, and
- Driver left the scene without stopping to call police
Exchanging your insurance information with the victim and then leaving without calling the police can still be considered “Leaving the Scene of an Accident.”
In addition to the usual car crash, police also consider the following to be accidents:
- Sideswiping an unoccupied parked car
- Knocking over a neighbor’s mailbox
- Tapping the bumper of a car in a parking lot
You can go to the Missouri Department of Revenue website for more information about what you are legally required to do when you are involved in an accident.
What To Do If You Leave The Scene Of An Accident?
If you are involved in an accident, Missouri law says you must stop and call the police to report it. However, it is common for people to panic and drive home after an accident, instead of stopping to call the police and making sure the victim is o.k.
Here’s what you can do if you get into an accident and leave the scene:
- If you leave the scene of an accident, call the police as soon as possible and tell them what happened.
- The police officer will ask you to come in to the police station and write out a statement describing what happened.
- The police officer will give you a ticket for “Leaving the Scene of an Accident.”
- After you receive the ticket, you can hire a lawyer to get the ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point infraction such as “Illegal Parking” or “Littering.”
If you hire an attorney to represent you for your ticket, you won’t have to appear in court, but you will have to pay a fine and court costs. You will also have to provide proof that either you or your insurance company paid for the damages that you caused.
Will You Get Caught If You Leave The Scene and Don’t Report The Accident?
After leaving the scene of an accident, you could just do nothing and hope no one saw you. However, you should keep in mind that there are cameras everywhere– in parking lots and store fronts, and on the front porches of people’s homes. A witness to the accident may have taken a photo of your license plate with their phone and shared it with the police.
Police often track down the fleeing driver very soon after the accident. In some cases, police tow the driver’s vehicle to the impound lot for an “inventory search” (because it was involved in a crime), and the vehicle owner has to pay a high fee to get their car back.
If you turn yourself in to police, the most likely outcome is that they will give you a ticket for “Leaving the Scene of an Accident.” Then you can hire an attorney to get the ticket fixed. But if you flee the scene and someone reports you to police, it could be more expensive to resolve. Your behavior makes you look worse than if you had confessed, and the Prosecutor may be less willing to negotiate a favorable plea bargain in your case.
An accident is unintentional, but what you do afterward makes a difference in the outcome. It is better to admit what you did and get your ticket fixed than to end up with a conviction for “Leaving the Scene of an Accident.”
How Long Does A Conviction For Leaving The Scene of An Accident Stay On Your Driving Record?
A conviction for Leaving the Scene of an Accident stays on your Missouri driving record forever if the ticket was issued by a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer.
Penalty For Misdemeanor Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In Missouri
The maximum penalty for misdemeanor Leaving The Scene Of An Accident in Missouri can include some or all of the following:
- 1 year in jail
- $1,000 fine
- 6 to 12 points added to your driving record
- 1-year revocation of driver’s license
How Many Points Are Added To Your Driving Record For Leaving the Scene of An Accident?
The number of points added to your Missouri driving record for a Hit & Run ticket depends on who issued your ticket:
- 12 points if a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer issued the ticket
- 6 points if a municipal or county police officer issued the ticket
If you accumulate too many points on your driving record, the State of Missouri will suspend or revoke your driver’s license.
- Your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days if you accumulate 8 points within 18 months (for a first-time suspension)
- Your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year if you accumulate 12 points within 12 months
If you hire a traffic law attorney to get your Leaving The Scene Of An Accident ticket “fixed” (reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation), no points will be added to your driving record.
You can contact the Missouri Department of Revenue (Driver’s License Bureau) at (573) 751-4475 to find out how many points you currently have on your driving record.
Click here to read my previous post for more information about what happens if you plead guilty to Leaving The Scene of an Accident.
Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Can Result In Driver’s License Suspension
The State of Missouri can suspend your driver’s license if you are involved in an accident and you or your insurance company fails to pay for the damages that you caused.
In addition, Missouri can suspend the licenses of both the driver and the owner of the vehicle if you leave the scene of an accident and your vehicle was not insured at the time of the accident.
How To Pay For The Damages When You Are Involved In An Accident
If your vehicle was insured at the time of the accident, your insurance company will pay for the victim’s damages.
If your vehicle was not insured when you were involved in the accident, it is your responsibility to pay for the damages. You will have to contact the victim’s insurance company and negotiate a payment agreement with them. The Missouri Department of Revenue (Driver’s License Bureau) has a sample Installment Agreement that you can use if you are dealing with the victim personally, rather than the victim’s insurance company.
You must obtain proof that the victim’s damages were paid for, or else your attorney won’t be able to get your ticket reduced to a non-moving violation.
An Attorney Can Get Your Leaving The Scene of An Accident Ticket Fixed
If you have been charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident or Hit & Run, you can hire a traffic law attorney to represent you. An experienced attorney can get your ticket reduced from a 6-point or 12-point ticket to a non-moving, no-point violation that won’t affect your driving record.
In most case, you won’t have to appear in court if you hire an attorney to represent you. You will have to pay a fine and court costs, and you might also be required to do community service and/or attend driving school.
The outcome of your Leaving The Scene Of An Accident case depends on the answers to the following questions:
- Did you confess to police, or did they have to track you down?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- How old are you?
- How many other accidents have you had?
- Was the victim physically injured?
- How serious was the property damage?
- Have the victim’s damages been paid for?
You can request a free consultation with a traffic ticket lawyer to discuss your case. They can give you a flat-fee price quote for how much they will charge to represent you. They should also be able to give you an estimate of the outcome of your case, including the amount of the fines and court costs you will have to pay to the court.
For a free consultation about your Leaving The Scene Of An Accident ticket, contact St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or [email protected]