If you are involved in an accident in Massachusetts, you have a duty to stop and provide your name, address and registration information to anyone who sustains property damage as a result. If there is no one to provide information to at the scene of the accident, you must report the incident to the police as soon as possible.
Frequently, drivers will leave the scene of an accident resulting in property damage because they have existing issues with their driver's license, auto insurance, immigration issues, they have a warrant, they may be impaired from alcohol or some other reason. However, sometimes drivers are unaware that they have even been involved in an accident.
In Massachusetts, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage is a serious offense, and a conviction can result in a fine, incarceration, probation, suspension of your driver's license, an increase in your car insurance premium, and even a civil lawsuit.
If you have left scene of an auto accident involving property damage, it is crucial that you contact a skilled Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling such cases.Attorney David Ellison knows how to protect your rights in such matters. Contact David at 401-230-5520 to learn your rights and best possible legal options.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING PROPERTY DAMAGE IN MASSACHUSETTS?
If you leave the scene of an accident without providing license and registration information, you may be in violation of Section 24(2)(a) of Chapter 90 of the Massachusetts General Laws, which provides that any individual who, without stopping and making known his name, residence, and the register number of his motor vehicle, leaves the scene of an accident after knowingly colliding with or otherwise causing injury to any other vehicle or property, is in violation of this section.
Leaving the scene of an accident in Massachusetts that causes damage to another vehicle or property is a criminal offense, and a conviction under this law may be punishable by the following:
- Jail not less than 2 weeks and not more than 2 years
- Potential $20 to $200 fine
- Potential Misdemeanor Criminal Conviction
- Possible Probation
- Mandatory Fees
- Possible 60-day license loss
- Possible 1 year license loss for a subsequent offense within 3 years.
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING PROPERTY DAMAGE IN MASSACHUSETTS?
To find you guilty of Leaving the Scene of Accident Involving Property Damage, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you operated a motor vehicle;
- That while you were operating your vehicle, you caused damage to another vehicle or property either by colliding with it or in some other way;
- That you knew you had collided with another's property or had in some way caused damage to another's property; and
- That after causing such damage, you did not stop and provide your name, home address, and the registration of your vehicle.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE IN MASSACHUSETTS?
You “operate” your motor vehicle while doing all well-known things that drivers do as they travel on a street or highway. Operating a motor also involves any act which directly sets the vehicle in motion. Massachusetts law provides that a person “operates” a motor vehicle whenever he or she is in the vehicle and intentionally manipulates some mechanical or electrical part of the vehicle (i.e., the gear shift or the ignition) which, alone or in sequence, sets the vehicle in motion.
DAMAGE TO ANOTHER'S VEHICLE OR OTHER PROPERTY
The extent of the damage to another's vehicle or property is not relevant except to the extent that it may be circumstantial evidence of whether you knew that there was a collision.
PROVIDING YOUR NAME, HOME ADDRESS, AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION
A driver has a duty to immediately stop at the scene and offer the specific information required: name, home address and motor vehicle registration number. This duty is not satisfied by stopping at a remote place or by being passively willing to answer questions.
If you are charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Property Damage, do not hesitate to contact a Massachusetts Leaving the Scene lawyer, David Ellison, today.