Causing a vehicular accident and failing to stop, commonly known as a hit and run accident, is a very serious offense. The Maryland hit and run laws are strict. Drivers who have any type of accident, no matter how minor, should never leave the scene to avoid becoming subjected to these harsh penalties.
Learning more about Maryland driving laws is the best defense against possible future legal issues.
What is a hit and run accident?
Simply put, a hit and run accident is when a driver causes a vehicular accident and fails to stop at the scene. According Maryland law, an accident is only categorized as a hit and run accident when it results in property damage or bodily harm. In practice, it is a good idea to always stop, since leaving any type of accident may result in later charges of fleeing from the scene of an accident.
What are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.
The consequences for committing a hit and run accident are severe, but their severity depends on the level of property damage or bodily harm resulting from the crash.
Drivers who flee the scene of an accident which results in property damage may face jail time. The penalty is up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500, or both. Drivers causing property damage resulting from a hit and run may have up to 8 points added to their license, which will cause the driver to lose their license.
Penalties for an accident resulting in bodily harm are even more dire. Persuant to §27-113 of the Maryland law, a driver who flees the scene of an accident which resulted in the severe bodily harm of another person can face felony charges. If convicted, the penalty is a fine up to $5,000, no more than 5 years in prison, or both.
If the accident results in a death, the defendant faces a felony manslaughter charge with a penalty of up to ten years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine or both.
What you should do to avoid hit and run charges.
Auto accidents are very stressful. If you are in a car accident, there are several things you need to do.
- Stop. If your car is still drivable, immediately pull off the road into a safe location as close as possible to the scene.
- Make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. If someone is hurt, it is your legal responsibility to get help right away. Call 911 and request medical assistance even if the injury appears minor.
- Call the police. Although the car accident may not seem serious, without a police report there is no official record of what happened. By getting the police involved as early as possible, you can prevent future legal issues.
- Exchange information. Remember to get the other driver’s insurance and license information. Write down the car’s license plate number and the names and addresses of anyone involved in the crash.
Keep these tips in mind and protect yourself, the next time you are involved in an auto accident.