Leaving the Scene (Hit and Run)
Massachusetts Hit and Run Defense Lawyer
Leaving the scene of Property Damage might appear like any other traffic offense to some, but in Massachusetts these cases are taken very seriously. In fact, a conviction for this offense carries an automatic license loss of 60 days up to 1 year with the Massachusetts RMV, as well as the potential for up to 2 years in jail and a $200 fine. For a charge of Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury, the penalties are even more severe.
Under Massachusetts law, if you knowingly were involved in an accident, you must stop and exchange registration information with the operator of that car or the owner of the damaged property. In a case of very minimal property or car damage, this may be a charge worth fighting, since the prosecution must prove that you knew of the collision. After all, you can't be expected to stop and exchange information unless you knew that you were involved in an accident. In cases where the damage is more serious, or the prosecution has strong evidence showing that you knew of the accident, I have still been successful in having the charges amended down to a less serious offense or outright dismissed upon the payment of restitution costs.
If you were not arrested, but received a citation for leaving the scene of property damage charge, you must act quickly. You have 4 days to respond to this notice, signing the back of the citation requesting a hearing. This gives you an opportunity to consult with and hire an attorney to represent you at this hearing, known as a "show cause" or "clerk magistrate's" hearing. At this hearing, the clerk will determine whether or not to issue a formal criminal complaint against you- in other words, whether to officially charge you with a crime. If you have never been in trouble with the law, this hearing is critical- if a criminal complaint issues, then you will forever have a CORI (criminal offender record information), regardless of how the case is resolved in the criminal court. Even if the case is eventually dismissed, or you take the case to trial and are found "Not Guilty"- it still shows up on a CORI check. Each case has its own tactical, procedural, and legal considerations that should be examined and applied by an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you receive a citation for leaving the scene of property damage, contact our office immediately for your free initial consultation.
Urbelis Law, LLC
98 North Washington St.
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: (617) 830-2188
Fax: (617) 507-8188