Hit and Run
After a traffic crash, some people just panic. If you leave the scene of an accident, then you should know that a criminal investigation has begun. Law enforcement officers take these cases very seriously. When there is evidence that can identify the person who committed the crime or the vehicle that left the scene, then many local law enforcement agencies use special investigators who track down any suspect.
The officer will then travel to the suspect's home or office in order to interrogate that person about their involvement in the crash. The officer's goal is getting a full confession. After a confession, it is much easier for the officer to obtain an arrest warrant and for the prosecutor to get a conviction.
You do not have to make a statement to any detective that come knocking on your door. Instead, you can retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can contact the investigating officer to let them know that you are invoking your right to remain silent and be represented by counsel at all stages of the investigation.
If you made the mistake of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident then don't compound the problem by trying to represent yourself. Instead, seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Des Moines, Iowa, to represent you at every stage of the case.
Attorney for Hit and Run Investigations in Des Moines, Iowa
If you hire us to represent you, we can contact the investigating officer on your behalf. After the officer knows that you have an attorney, the officer is not allowed to travel to your home or work to conduct an interrogation. Your attorney can also help you get your vehicle back if it was left at the scene.
Your attorney can help you make a claim with your insurance company, if appropriate. And your attorney can help you resolve any civil lawsuit that might occur if anyone is injured in the accident.
Don't try to represent yourself in these difficult cases for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Instead, hire an attorney to help protect you at every stage of the case. Call (515) 279-9700 to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Our attorneys represent clients under investigation for serious traffic crimes in the greater Des Moines area.
Iowa Law for "Hit and Run" Crimes
The laws prohibiting leaving the scene of a traffic crash are found in Iowa Statute Section 321. This provision explains a driver's obligations to remain at the scene and provide certain information to anyone who suffered injury or property damage including:
- the driver's name;
- the driver's license number;
- the address or location of the crash;
- the registration number of the vehicle involved;
- the insurance information for the vehicle involved in the crash.
Even if the crash involves a parked car or other unattended property, the driver is required to make a reasonable effort to locate the owner of the vehicle or leave their information in a written note in a conspicuous place on the damaged property.
If a driver flees the scene of the crash before giving all of the information required by statute, then the driver can be charged with a crime. The penalties for leaving the scene under Iowa law depend on the amount of damage caused by the crash:
- Property Damage Only - If the only damage caused by the crash was property damage and no one was injured, then the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and up to $625 in fines.
- Personal Injury - If any person was injured in the traffic crash, the crime can be charged as a serious misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a $1,875 fine.
- Death - If the traffic crash caused or contributed to the death of any person, then the crime can be charged as a Class D felony which is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and a maximum fine of $7,500.
A conviction can also require a driver's license suspension. Any conviction will also lead to an increase in insurance premiums for years to come.
This article was last updated on Thursday, July 13, 2017.