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Why You Should Never Leave the Scene of an Accident

Published June 29, 2018 by ADRAS & ALTIG, Attorneys at Law
scene of a car accident on nevada street

Even the most cautious and experienced drivers may be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. It is natural to be shaken and disoriented after a crash. But it is important to remember never to leave the scene of the accident. If you are involved in a car accident, you are required by law to stop, call the police and get medical help for anyone who is injured. The state of Nevada imposes strict penalties for those who leave the scene of an accident.

When your vehicle is stopped, you should stay as close to the accident without obstructing traffic when possible. It’s essential to take a moment to process what has happened and remain calm. Be aware of other dangers in the aftermath of an accident, such as fire and oncoming traffic.

You should check on the condition of others involved in the accident and request emergency medical assistance for anyone who is injured, if possible. If you are seriously hurt, it’s important to stay calm and wait for help. Do not move if you are unable to do so.

You should call 911 to summon the police and request medical assistance. Be prepared to tell the dispatcher how many ambulances are needed.

What Are the Consequences of Leaving the Scene of An Accident?

Nevada has tough penalties for those convicted of hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident.

Most drivers offer some excuse for fleeing the scene of an accident. They may not have insurance, or they do not want their insurance rates to go up. The driver may be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. They may not have a valid license, or their license has been suspended. Regardless of the reason, the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are often more severe than the consequences of remaining at the scene and calling the police.

It is vital that you render aid after an accident, especially if there are injuries. You will not face charges for failing to report an accident if you are incapacitated. To be in violation of Nevada hit and run laws, it must be willful.

Leaving the scene of an accident can result in having your driver’s license suspended or revoked. If you flee the scene and someone was hurt or killed, you may face serious criminal charges, carrying up to 20 years in prison for a conviction.

The penalties for a hit-and-run felony can include the following:

  • Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
  • Fines of $2,000 to $5,000
  • Payment of restitution to the victim
  • Parole or probation with certain conditions
  • A minimum of two years in prison
  • A maximum of twenty years in prison

If the accident involves property damage, you may face a misdemeanor with six months of possible jail time, a fine of $1,000, and six points on your license.

If you ever hit a vehicle that is unattended, you have a duty to stop and try to find the owner. Otherwise, you need to leave a written note with your name and address on the car. You also need to inform the authorities.

It’s important to note that the state of Nevada may charge you with other crimes along with the hit-and-run charges. If you were under the influence, you could be charged with a DUI. You can also face charges of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, or other crimes that law enforcement believes you have committed.

What Should Drivers Do at The Scene of An Accident?

For any crash that results in property damage, injury or death, all the drivers involved are required by Nevada law to stop and exchange information such as names and addresses, vehicle registration numbers, insurance information, and driver’s license information.

Nevada drivers are also required to give this information to a member of law enforcement investigating the accident and to show their licenses to the officer upon request.

If people are injured in a car accident, the other drivers have a legal duty to provide reasonable assistance.

What to Do If You Are in An Accident in Nevada

  1. Do Not Leave the Scene. Drivers need to stay on the scene of an accident until emergency responders and the police arrive.
  2. Do Not Get into a Physical Altercation or Argument. Starting a fight will make a bad situation even worse. How a driver handles himself at the scene of an accident will have an impact on whether the bystanders become a witness for or against them.
  3. Do Not Admit Fault. Apologizing for the accident can be used in court as an admission of fault. You may feel bad about the accident, but don’t comment on who was at fault or who has liability. This will be determined following an investigation by the insurance companies.
  4. Do Not Delay Reporting an Accident. Every moment counts when it comes to getting witness testimony, gathering facts, and collecting evidence. An accident needs to be reported promptly.

How an Attorney Can Help You

If you are charged with leaving the scene of an accident in Las Vegas, do not speak to law enforcement or anyone else about the accident until you have sought guidance from a criminal defense attorney. You have the right to remain silent, and you do not have to incriminate yourself. Instead, contact a lawyer right away to discuss the circumstances surrounding the crash and your actions before and afterward. The sooner you have an attorney on your side, the sooner you can start building a strong defense against the charges you face.

Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Now

At Adras & Altig, we believe that every client we work with deserves the best-possible representation. State prosecutors must prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of leaving the scene of an accident or related charges. Our dedicated attorneys will take the time necessary to understand what really happened and put your actions in the proper context.

If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you need to contact an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options. Contact us at (702) 761-3871 for a free consultation. We’re ready to help defend you against the charges you face, so don’t wait to call us today.

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