Failure To Report A DUI Accident In New York
If you have an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New York, it can be a very scary thing. You’ll probably wonder what is going to happen to you, and as that fear builds, you might start to think that fleeing the scene is the best way out.
Don’t do it.
In most jurisdictions in New York, it is the law for a motorist to stop when they are involved in an accident where an injury or damage to property occurred and notify the police. They must then provide information to the police or the other party involved in the accident and send a report to the DMV. Not doing this makes the accident fall under New York’s hit-and-run statutes, and that is not something you want.
If you do try to flee the scene of an accident while intoxicated and get caught, you will likely be charged with a criminal DUI – not the lighter DWAI – a violation for the accident itself, which will vary depending on the nature and severity of it, and with failure to report an accident. At the minimum, this crime is a misdemeanor that carries fines and other punishments, but it can become a felony if the accident was more serious.
Charges and Penalties for Failing to Report a New York DUI Accident
The charges and penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident vary depending upon the nature of the accident in question. For a simple case of damaging property or a vehicle that was unattended, fleeing will lead to:
- Criminal misdemeanor charges
- Up to 6 months in prison
- Substantial fines
- A high number of points assessed to your license
If you run from an accident involving another person and the accident results in that person receiving “serious” injuries or dying, you will face:
- Felony charges
- Substantial imprisonment
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 at the minimum
- Permanent loss of your driving privileges
Remember, these are just the charges for failing to report the accident and running away – you’ll still have to deal with the charges and penalties associated with your DUI and with the accident itself, which may be elevated based on your decision not to report the incident.
Your Legal Obligations in a New York DUI Accident
As mentioned above, no matter how serious the accident is, most jurisdictions demand that you stop, notify police, and provide information before a report can be made to the DMV. But what information would you need to provide?
- Your name
- Your address
- Your vehicle’s registration number
- Your auto insurance information
Most people are familiar with this process if they’ve ever been involved in an accident. Usually, you simply give this information to the other driver. If, however, no other driver is involved, that doesn’t mean that you can simply walk away. Instead, you have an obligation to find the owner of the property that was damaged so that you can exchange information with them. If you are unable to do this, the law requires you to leave a note for the owner with your contact information, then call the police and let them know about the accident.
Your responsibilities change if the accident results in someone being injured or killed. When this occurs, it is your legal duty to immediately stop your car at the scene of the accident and stay there until you’ve given what aid you could to the injured party, called the police, and provided the information listed above.
Once you have provided your information to any other parties involved in the accident and notified police, you are typically given 5 to 10 days to file an accident report with the DMV if the incident caused injury, death, or damage of $500 or greater. However, if you were yourself injured in the accident, you won’t be required to file a written report while you are incapacitated.