In Michigan, pursuant to Michigan Compiled Law 257.617, the driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he or she has been involved in an accident upon public or private property that is open to travel by the public shall remain there until the driver gives his or her name and address, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, to a police officer, the individual struck, or the driver or occupants of the vehicle with which he or she has collided. The driver must also show his or her driver’s license to the aforementioned people as well. If there is anyone injured in the accident the driver must give reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or arranging for the transportation of any injured person. If there is a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene will result in further harm, the driver must immediately report the accident to the police. When a driver collides with a vehicle that is either attended or unoccupied, the driver has the responsibility to locate and notify the owner of the vehicle with the name and address of the driver. If the owner cannot be located, the driver has the duty to report it to the nearest police officer. The same is true if the driver collides with property on or adjacent to a highway, such as a telephone pole or a road sign.
Failure to stop at an accident is also referred to as hit and run. Oftentimes it is the result of one car tapping another. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish if damage to another car was caused by tapping the other car, or if the damage previously existed. Basically, according to the law, when in doubt you need to error on the side of caution and immediately report the accident.
Why do you need to retain a lawyer for this offense? Failure to Stop at an Accident is a 90 day misdemeanor with a possible fine of up to $100. When a minor injury occurs during the accident the offense is still a misdemeanor charge, however it carries a maximum possible punishment of up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If the Failure to Stop at the Scene of the Accident Results in Serious Impairment of a Body Function or Death, the offense becomes a felony punishable for more than 5 years in prison, a fine of not more than $5,0000, or both. When the Failure to Stop at the Scene of the Accident Results in Death and the Driver is at Fault, the charge becomes a 15 year maximum felony with a possible fine of up to $10,000. Conviction for any of the aforementioned offenses also results in 6 points on the driver’s driving record, driver’s responsibility fees, potential loss of driving privileges, and assuredly higher insurance rates for those still with driving privileges. There is also the possibility of restitution and/or a civil lawsuit anytime a driver or passenger is injured in any type of an accident.