Welcome back to our discussion about leaving the scene of a crash in Michigan, and why it can get you into a lot of trouble. In the previous article we looked at why people would choose to leave a car crash without notifying the cops, and what the law says you’re supposed to do in that situation. So you know why you have to stay, and what info you’re supposed to give to the police (or the other driver.) Next up we’d like to explain what could happen if you left anyway – which is illegal for all the reasons we already explained. So let’s get to it…
What do the cops do when they arrive at a crash scene?
When officers arrive at the scene of a crash, their job is to make sure that everyone is okay, get help for those people who are hurt, and figure out what happened and who (if anyone) is at fault. The officer on scene will talk to you about what happened, and try to figure out if you, or anyone else is to blame for what happened. Remember, the officer’s determination about fault isn’t binding on anyone – it’s just the officer’s opinion. So don’t get mad if they get it wrong. You’ll still have a chance to tell your side of the story if they incorrectly blame you.However, your job is not to argue with the police officer or get into any sort of confrontation with the police of the other driver or witnesses.
If you’re not there when they arrive, they’ll assume the worst!
If you didn’t stick around after the crash, the police are likely to assume that you left because you had something to hide, or you were to blame and were trying to avoid the consequences. Either way, they’re going to come looking for you, and when they find you, you’re going to be in a world of hurt! So if we can only give you one piece of advice here, it would be this: never leave the scene of a crash unless your life, or someone else’s life is in danger! And even then, always call the cops, report the crash, and explain clearly why you had to leave, and how they can contact you.
What charges will you face if you leave a crash scene in Michigan?
- Only property was damaged, no people were hurt:
If the crash only involves property damage (like a bent street sign or damaged building), you could be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $100, or both.
- Personal injury (which means people were harmed):
If the crash involves a personal injury, or anyone is hurt because of the crash, you could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Also, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to a year by the Michigan Secretary of State.
- Serious Impairment of a Body Function or Death (which means someone was very badly hurt or killed):
If the crash involves “serious impairment of a body function” or the death of anyone involved, anybody leaving the scene could be charged with a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. And remember – if someone is seriously hurt or killed and the cops figure out that the person who left the scene was the person at fault, they could be charged with a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Serious stuff!
Make sure you have the right legal help during times of crisis!
If you left the scene of a crash anywhere in the state of Michigan, even if you followed the law, had a good reason, and notified the cops, you’re probably going to need help from a skilled criminal defense attorney! At The Kronzek Firm, we believe that no matter where in Michigan you live, whether it’s Lansing, Jackson, Tuscola or Battle Creek, early intervention in a case can make a significant difference in the outcome. That’s why we have attorneys on standby, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide advice and legal counsel to any Michigan resident in need. If your situation seems urgent, call us immediately at 1-866-766-5245. We’re here to help.