NYC Hit & Run Lawyer

Hit and Run Lawyer in New York City

Motor vehicle accidents happen all the time.  We have all been involved in one or more during our lifetimes and understand the expectations following a collision:  at the very least an exchange of identification and insurance information, perhaps awaiting the arrival of police to assist and provide an official accident report.  But what happens in New York City when, following a motor vehicle accident, panic and human nature take over and drives an individual to leave an accident scene without doing any of this?  That individual will likely find themselves as the subject of a hit and run police investigation where an arrest is imminent.  If there were injuries sustained in the accident, they may even be charged with serious felony crimes.  They should immediately hire the most experienced counsel they can afford as their freedom will be very much on the line.  

For more than 30 years, attorney Fred Sosinsky has been the NYC hit and run lawyer that New Yorkers have turned to when they are accused of fleeing an auto accident scene.  Fred has worked some amazing results for clients in these unfortunate circumstances, keeping them free from incarceration and usually from a criminal record.  This is largely a product of Fred’s thorough investigation of the facts, a meticulous review of the factors that caused the accused to leave the scene, and a keen understanding of what prosecutors consider most important in these cases.

NYC hit and run lawyer

Types of Hit And Run Charges in New York

In New York, the degree or severity of offense with which you may be charged for leaving the scene of an accident depends upon whether there was merely property damage caused or whether there were physical injuries or death as a consequence of the accident.  Where only damage to property is involved, the law limits this offense to a non-criminal traffic violation.  If there is physical injury involved, the offense is at least a misdemeanor;  if more serious injuries were sustained the crime is a felony.  And if death was caused, a Class C felony may be charged even if no other crime is also presented.   Notably,  even if no other offense — such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or reckless driving — is provable by authorities, a charge of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting may properly be brought. Thus, these cases are serious affairs warranting serious actions on the part of anyone accused of committing them. Luckily, a skilled NYC hit and run lawyer will be able to help you navigate these charges and assist you in receiving the best possible outcome for the charges.

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Property Damage

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Property Damage is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to fifteen days in jail.  A person Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Property Damage in New York when he or she operates a motor vehicle which is involved in a car accident, knows or has reason to know that damage to another person’s property resulted from the accident and fails to stop, provide their driver’s license and insurance card, real name and address and report the incident to a police officer or to the nearest police station. 

Of note, one may be charged with this offense even if the other vehicle is parked and the operator is not present to exchange information with.  Under such circumstances, the law in New York requires that one take reasonable steps to leave your information with the other vehicles or property owners involved and contact the police to ensure that such information is properly recorded.   In addition, a charge may be brought for a violation of this provision of law even if no other vehicle is involved in the accident.  If anyone’s property, such as a building, mailbox, or other structure was damaged, the operator’s obligation is the same.  Finally, under the law, it does not matter whether the accused was not at all at fault for the accident.  His or her obligations are the same regardless of fault for the accident. These charges can sometimes be subjective based on the circumstances, that is why you’ll want an experienced NYC hit and run lawyer by your side through the legal process.

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Physical Injury

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Physical Injury is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.  A person may be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Physical Injury in New York when he or she operates a motor vehicle which is involved in an accident knows or has reason to know that personal injury to another person resulted from the accident and fails to stop, provide their driver’s license and insurance card, real name and address and report the incident to a police officer or to the nearest police station. 

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Physical Injury

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Serious Physical Injury is a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.  A person may be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Serious Physical Injury in New York when he or she operates a motor vehicle which is involved in an accident, knows or has reason to know that personal injury to another person resulted from the accident and fails to stop, provide their driver’s license and insurance card, real name and address and report the incident to a police officer or to the nearest police station and where a serious physical injury results. 

Serious physical injury is defined by law as presenting a significant risk of death, protracted impairment of health, or disfigurement.  It means more than mere bumps, bruises, cuts, and even broken bones.   But there is no requirement that the accused know or have reason to know that the injuries met the legal definition of serious physical injury.  All that is required is that he or she knew or should have known that physical injuries were sustained.

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Physical Injury

Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Death is a Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in state prison.  A person may be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting: Death in New York when he or she operates a motor vehicle that is involved in an accident, knows or has reason to know that personal injury resulted from the accident, and fails to stop, display their driver’s license and insurance card, real name and address and report the incident to a police officer or to the nearest police station and death results.  

As was the case with the Class E felony offense, it is not required that the prosecution prove that the accused knew or had reason to know that death occurred.  Rather, it is sufficient if they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was aware or should have been aware that physical injury of some sort — which turned out to have led to death — was involved.

There are certain circumstances under which leaving the scene of an accident in New York, is permitted. New York law allows for leaving the scene of the accident if you leave to notify the police, if you leave to acquire medical care, or if you feel unsafe at the scene of an accident.  One can imagine a circumstance where due to the location, a cell signal may not be available to you and so driving off to contact the police or to call for an ambulance would be acceptable.  Likewise, you are certainly permitted to drive off to obtain immediate medical attention for an injured party.  And again, given the location, it may be reasonable to pull off to a safer location. This might also be the case if the operator of the other vehicle is acting in a threatening fashion leading you to conclude that they may cause harm to you or a passenger. 

NYC hit and run attorney

There are Defenses To Leaving the Scene of an Incident Without Reporting Charges

There are a number of viable defenses to accusations that one left the scene of a motor vehicle accident without properly reporting it. But the very move anyone accused of these charges must do is contact an NYC hit and run lawyer right away.

First, an accused may contend that they were unaware that they had been involved in an accident or if aware of an accident, that they had no knowledge that there was either damage to another’s vehicle or injury to the operator or passengers of the other vehicle.   If there was little reason to know for sure that there had even been a collision, this may prove most helpful.  A reduced rate of speed and lack of sound associated with an accident may assist such a defense.  Similarly, if the other driver was mistakenly believed to have indicated through words or actions that there was no need to exchange documents this too may lead to a successful defense.  If a quick visual inspection failed to show you any signs of damage — even though a more thorough examination later performed led to the discovery of significant damage — a mistake of fact defense may be in order. 

Second, a defense may be presented if there is evidence that the accused left the scene only to pursue medical attention or because he or she felt unsafe in the area of a fast-moving highway.  Of course, such a defense should be pursued only if there is evidence — perhaps a video of the scene or hospital records — corroborating the defense claim.  

Third, it may well be that a person other than the accused was actually operating the vehicle at the time of the incident.  If this is true, this may offer a complete defense at trial.

Contact The #1 NYC Hit And Run Lawyer Today

Leaving the scene of an incident with or without physical injury is a serious accusation with ramifications that go far beyond the impact on one’s drivers’ license.  Be sure to have a criminal defense attorney representing you who knows the rules of the road in such cases and can help you to defend against such charges. NYC hit and run lawyer Frederick Sosinsky has been helping clients charged with these crimes for more than 30 years.  Put his experience to work for you and request a free consultation today.

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