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Why do I Have to Wait For The Cops After a Car Crash? (Pt 1)

If you’re ever involved in a car crash, don’t take off afterwards, even if you’re not to blame! It could mean criminal charges against you!

People involved in car crashes here in Michigan tend to go through a series of emotional responses that are pretty standard – shock, fear, and anger being the most common. But once that’s over, they usually move on to figuring out what they need to do next. Some are concerned about their vehicles and how the crash will affect their insurance or whether they will get a ticket from the police. Others are worried for the wellbeing of the people involved. But some are much more concerned with getting as far away as possible, as quickly as possible, and this is what we’d like to talk to you about today…

Why would someone leave the scene of a crash?

There are many reasons why someone might choose not to stick around after a car crash. Maybe they’re overwhelmed with what just happened and they just desperately want to escape a very stressful situation. Perhaps they’re worried about the cops showing up because they’re drunk, or don’t have a valid driver’s license or car insurance. Maybe they have something in their car they don’t want the cops to find, like drugs or a weapon. Whatever the reason, you need to know that leaving the scene of  most crashes is actually illegal in Michigan!

After a crash, there are specific rules you’re supposed to follow:

Michigan law says that after a crash with another car or a stationary object (like a telephone pole or a building) you’re required to wait for the police to arrive. Even if you don’t think you were at fault for the crash, you’re still required to stay and give the police (or the occupants of the other vehicle) certain information. If the crash happened on private property, you’re required to notify the police. So what exactly do the cops need to know?

Information you have to give the cops after a crash:

  • Your name and address
  • The registration numbers of your vehicle
  • The name and address of the owner of the vehicle (even if it’s not you)
  • You’re also required to give the other driver (if there is one) a chance to see your driver’s license.

Is there anything else you’re supposed to do?

Anyone involved in a crash (sometimes called a collision by the police) also has to stay and provide ‘reasonable’ help to anyone injured in the crash. This could mean assisting them at the scene of the crash if you can, getting medical help for them if possible, or arranging for (or providing) their transportation. The only situation where you’d be allowed to leave the scene of a crash without risking criminal prosecution, is when staying there endangers someone’s life. However, in this case you’re still required to notify the police immediately, and explain why you felt you had to leave.

You can get into a lot of trouble leaving the scene of a crash

Under Michigan law, it’s illegal to leave the scene of a crash without getting permission to go from the cops, or making sure that everyone involved can reach you and has your info. In cases where someone is hurt or even killed, you can end up facing very serious charges! Join us next time for a look at some of the consequences of running off after a car crash. But until then, if you live in Lansing, Jackson, Howell, Detroit or Battle Creek, and you’re involved in a crash and need legal help dealing with the fallout, we’re available 24/7 to help. Call 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and get mid-Michigan’s premier criminal defense attorneys on your team.

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