Leaving the Scene of an Accident is governed by New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 600. Its consequences vary depending on whether anyone was hurt and whether the driver has a prior conviction for the same type offense.
The good news is that it may not be a crime. If the damage is limited to property damage and no one is hurt (people or animals) then the charge is a traffic infraction and NOT a crime. The consequences can still be severe as the maximum punishment is 15 days in jail and $250 fine.
If someone is hurt, then the charge is a class A misdemeanor. A conviction would be a permanent criminal record that can never be erased. In addition, you would be facing up to one year in jail and $500 - $1000 fine. Note that if your only conduct was failing to provide your license and insurance id, you can only be charged with a class B misdemeanor and the punishment is reduced to a maximum of 90 days jail and $500 fine.Note also if you have a previous conviction for leaving the scene, then the crime is bumped up to an E felony with a maximum punishment of 4 years in jail and a fine between $1000 and $2500.
If someone was seriously injured (as defined in Section 10 of the New York Penal Law), then the charge is a class E felony. If you are found guilty you would be a convicted felon and lose some very valuable rights, such as owning a firearm, serving on a jury, obtaining certain civil service jobs, etc. You would also be facing up to four years in jail and a fine between $1000 and $5000.
If the injured person dies as a result of the accident then the charge is a class D felony, punishable up to 7 years in jail and a fine between $2000 and $5000.
Keep in mind that these are maximum punishments and a skilled defense attorney has a wide variety of plea bargaining options available that can be used to minimize your consequences. For a more detailed discussion on what to expect in your case, feel free to contact me at 212-385-8600 or via www.reasonabledoubtny.com/contact.php
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