In Michigan a driver who has reason to believe that he or she has been in an accident has a responsibility to stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and remain there. Failure to comply can result in a criminal prosecution under either State law or local ordinance, depending upon the circumstances.
According to Michigan Compiled Law 257.619 the driver has other responsibilities as well:
First, the driver must provide his or her name and address, the vehicle owner’s name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident.
Second, the driver must also show his or her driver’s license to the police, the person struck, or the driver or occupants of the other vehicle.
Third, if someone is injured the driver must render reasonable assistance to get medical help or get or arrange for transportation so that the injured person can get medical help.
If there is no injury, and if the driver has a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene will result in more harm, the driver has the obligation to report the accident to the nearest and most convenient police officer or police agency.
The driver of the vehicle who remains at the scene is required to move his or her vehicle to a safer area such as a shoulder or median, unless a death or serious injury occurred. Obviously the concern is to not have a road hazard that could result in additional accidents, and to impede the flow of traffic as little as possible.
If a person is killed or seriously injured it is a felony offense to fail to comply with these requirements according to Michigan Compiled Law 257.617. If the injury is minor, failure to comply with this requirement is a misdemeanor. For any of these infractions, suspension of driving privileges is mandatory upon conviction.
When an accident occurs involving another vehicle the offense is a 90 day maximum misdemeanor. Damage to property that belongs to another person (for example, a mailbox) or the government (for example, a guard rail, a street sign, etc.) also are treated in the same manner.
There are other possible penalties, depending upon the type of conviction obtained: points on driving record, probation with costs, financial penalties (fines, costs, restitution), insurance related fees such as deductibles, and insurance rate increase.
If you made a mistake for failing to comport with your obligations as a driver you should immediately retain a experienced lawyer to help you with any traffic related offense. The experienced lawyer can help you in several ways:
- The experienced lawyer can defend the case and challenge the prosecutor’s allegations;
- The experienced lawyer may be able to enter into negotiations on your behalf to spare you a harsh sentence, or negotiate with the prosecution for a lessor charge (plea bargain). This may help you avoid harsh driver’s license sanctions that may be related to this charge.
For experienced traffic related legal representation, I recommend that you retain attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm Hilf & Hilf, PLC.