New York Hit-And-Run Laws
When most people think of hit-and-run accidents, they imagine someone who runs over a person and just keeps going, either through negligence or callousness. But what those individuals do not realize is that in the state of New York, the term “hit-and-run” simply means that you drive away after being involved in an accident without stopping to provide your information or reporting the incident as the law requires.
Types of New York Hit-and-Run Violations
Property Damage. This can include a number of things, such as:
- Getting into an accident with another driver
- Hitting a parked car
- Hitting anything else that could be legally defined as personal, private, or State property, but excluding living property such as animals (examples include telephone poles, mailboxes, garbage cans, mobile businesses, etc.)
Injury. A hit-and-run violation where you physically harm any other human being and do not stop to provide your information or check to make sure that the other person is okay. This can include an accident between vehicles where there is an injured party, but also encompasses injuries suffered by pedestrians or those utilizing non-motor vehicles.
Death. This type of hit-and-run violation is exactly the same as the Injury violation, except that the injured person or persons die from the wounds they received in the accident.
As you may imagine, the penalties for each of these types of violations vary depending upon the severity of the crime, with property damage obviously counting as the least severe, and causing the death of another person being the most severe.
Penalties for New York Hit-and-Run Violations
While the state of New York considers all hit-and-run violations to be a serious problem, it also recognizes the vast disparity between scraping a mailbox and hitting a person, and the penalties that you will face reflect that.
If you damage property and flee the scene, you will be guilty of a traffic infraction that has attached fines of up to $250, a prison sentence that can last for up to 15 days, or both of these penalties.
If you moderately injure a person and refuse to provide your information at the scene (name, address, license, insurance), it is a Class B misdemeanor. This crime carries with it a minimum fine of $250 that can to as high as $500, along with other potential penalties. And if this isn’t the first time you have been charged with such a crime, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum $500 fine that can go as high as $1,000, along with other potential penalties. If you actually flee the scene, it starts as a Class A misdemeanor with fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 and other attached penalties, and if you’ve been previously convicted of the same crime, the charge becomes a Class E felony, with fines ranging from $1,000-$2,500 and other attached penalties.
If you seriously injure a person and flee the scene, you will be charged with a Class E felony with fines ranging from $1,000-$5,000, along with attached penalties.
If the person you seriously injured dies and you flee the scene, you will be charged with a Class D felony with fines ranging from $1,000-$5,000, as well as any attached penalties.
Responsibilities When You Are Involved in an Accident in New York
The responsibilities given to drivers who are involved in traffic accidents by the state of New York are common courtesy and should be common sense. If this happens to you:
Stop. Do not keep driving and pretend it didn’t happen. No matter how fast you are going, it will catch up to you eventually, and you are only making matters worse.
Help. If someone was injured, get out of your car and do what you can to help them. Get them out of their car or out of the street if it seems like it will help, and if you need to, call 9-1-1 and get someone out there to make sure that they are okay. You’ll be helping them and helping yourself, because if the person you hit becomes more seriously injured or even dies, it’s going to be that much worse for you.
Exchange info. You are required by law to show your license and insurance information to the other party involved in the accident. Even if you damage someone’s property and no one is around, the law says that you have to leave them a note with your contact information. If you do not do this and it is later revealed that you caused the damage, injury, or death, you will face charges for the actual crime related to the accident as well as hit-and-run charges.
Call the police. New York law also says that you need to report any auto accidents that involve damage or injury to the police so that they can file a report and get everything on record.
And finally, there’s something that you should do to be responsible to yourself – call an experienced New York criminal attorney who knows the hit-and-run laws and has dealt with cases like this before. The best way for you to receive a positive outcome in a situation like this is to get a professional on your side as early as possible.