If you’re in a car accident, it’s very important that you do not leave the scene. This is especially true if you think that you may be charged with an Indiana DUI. If you hit something with your vehicle and don’t stick around, this can compound your troubles. It can also lead to additional criminal charges.
After a Car Crash
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense. Under Indiana law, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident must immediately stop their motor vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the accident as possible in a manner that does not obstruct traffic more than is necessary.
The driver is also obligated to remain at the scene until they have provided their name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license to anyone else involved in the collision.
When Someone Is Injured
If the accident results in injury or death, the driver has a responsibility to provide reasonable assistance to each person injured in or entrapped by the accident, as directed by a law enforcement officer, medical personnel, or a 911 telephone operator.
As soon as possible after the accident, the driver must immediately give notice of the accident—or ensure that another person gives notice of the accident—by the quickest means of communication to:
- the local police department, if the accident occurs within a municipality;
- the office of the county sheriff or the nearest police post, if the accident occurs outside a municipality; or
- a 911 telephone operator.
If the accident involves an unattended vehicle or other property damage, the driver shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the damaged vehicle or property. If after a reasonable inquiry the driver cannot find the owner or person in charge of the damaged vehicle or property, the driver must contact a law enforcement officer or agency and provide the identifying information required under law.
Leaving the Scene
If you knowingly or intentionally fail to comply with any of these obligations, that is leaving the scene of an accident. This starts as a Class B misdemeanor., which carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you’re involved in a crash, and you stop a few feet down the road, that’s not a big deal. But if you continue driving for a few blocks or end up in a different neighborhood? The police are likely to consider this leaving the scene of an accident.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident with DUI
Now let’s throw a DUI into the mix. Indiana DUIs often come in pairs. First, you have operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Second, you have operating with a specific alcohol concentration equivalent (.08 or greater, .15 or greater). If you cause a collision that results in injury, things can escalate quickly.
Imagine the worst case scenario: If you were intoxicated, caused an accident that killed someone, and left the scene, this could potentially be charged as a Level 3 felony. That carries a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. No matter what the situation is, leaving the scene only makes the consequences more severe.
Make the Right Call
If you find yourself charged with leaving the scene of an accident—or even worse, leaving the scene coupled with a DUI—you need to get an experienced criminal defense attorney involved as soon as possible. The Marc Lopez Law Firm handles cases like these every day. Give us a call at 317-632-3642 and remember—always plead the 5th!