Failure to Report an Accident in Maine
Serving the Areas of Bangor, Biddeford, Saco, Portland and Augusta
Hit and Run
Listed as one of the leading causes of death in the country, traffic accidents occur at a high rate every year. Many of these involve a driver with traces of alcohol in their system that may or may not be responsible for the incident occurring. The CDC has estimated that around 30 people die each day from a motor vehicle accident in which a driver under the influence was involved. Many people are unaware of what to do after an accident and may panic in an instance of fear.
Maine law defines a reportable accident as “an accident on a public way or a place where public traffic may reasonably be anticipated, resulting in bodily injury or death to a person or apparent property damage of $1,000 or more”. It is the job of the operator of the vehicle to report the accident as soon as possible. If another driver or a passenger was injured, the driver must report the accident to the authorities. Failure to report an accident is a Class E offense. A conviction can result in up to six months of jail time, $1,000 in fine and license suspension.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident Charges
Under Maine criminal code §2252, accidents involving death or personal injury states:
1. Operator required to stop. The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident anywhere that results in personal injury or death to a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or stop as close as possible and immediately return to the scene. [1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (new); Pt. B, §5 (aff).]
If you are arrested for not reporting an accident where serious injury or death occurs, you will be charged with a Class C offense. This is only the offense of leaving the scene, if you are accused of attempting to leave the scene and have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, you could be charged with OUI and a Hit and Run. OUI related hit and run offenses can lead to 4 years of license suspension.
Maine Hit and Run Charges
The consequences for a hit and run are very serious and depend on the circumstances of the crime. For example, if you are accused of hitting a car, either parked or with a passenger, and then fleeing the scene, it is considered a Class E crime. If there is a serious injury or death involved it will usually be charged as a Class D crime and if you are believed to have caused the accident intentionally or because you were driving recklessly, it may be charged as a Class C crime.
Hit and run charges can occur after any type of accident, but they are especially serious when you are accused of OUI. Causing an accident because you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a Class C crime. The following are the penalties for leaving the scene of accident offenses:
Class E: Maximum of 6 months of jail time Maximum of $1,000 in fines
Class D: Maximum of 12 months of jail time Maximum of $2,000 in fines 90 days of license suspension
Class C: Maximum of 5 years of jail time Maximum of $5,000 in fines 90 days of license suspension
These penalties are minimum requirements. If you cause and accident due to OUI and you attempt to leave the scene, the judge will likely increase your sentence.
What to Do After an Accident
Leaving the scene may be done by an individual as a quick reaction. After the shock of the event has passed somewhat they may recognize they need to return. Others can fear the consequences and chose to leave hoping they will not be caught. When you are involved in an accident, whether or not it was your fault, it is important that you stay at the scene. Leaving can cause more trouble than what may already be faced. After ensuring all parties are safe and unharmed, information should then be exchanged. If it is necessary, law enforcement should be called to help in the process and to make a report of the incident.
Often times when law enforcement is called to the scene they will test those involved to see if they appear to be alcohol impaired. Those that are suspected of drinking and driving may be faced with a number of damaging legal consequences if they are found guilty. Fleeing the scene of an accident can only add to the problem and increase the punishment imposed. It can become even more serious when property was damaged or an injury or fatality occurred. The evidence brought against suspects can often be challenged, such as the findings of a blood test or field sobriety tests.
If you have been charged with a Hit and Run accident in Maine, call William Bly today.