Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Each year there are approximately 1,700 hit and run accidents within the City of Des Moines. The Traffic Unit of the Des Moines Police Department, for example, uses a special investigator to follow up on those cases with any leads. The officer’s follow up investigation can include:
- interviewing witnesses and people involved in the accident;
- interrogating the suspect;
- reviewing surveillance cameras of where accidents may have occurred;
- examining the physical evidence left at the scene of the accident; and
- securing a search or arrest warrant.
Whether a moment of panic or a misunderstanding leads to a charge of leaving the scene of an automobile accident, the consequences can be severe. The penalties are meant to deter drivers from intentionally refusing aid to those injured, but sometimes a simple mistake can lead to a hit and run arrest. If you're facing this offense, you are likely feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of defending yourself.
A lawyer on your side can make all the difference when facing this accusation, especially since it is important to establish your motivations. A hit and run offense carries a stigma that might make it difficult to fight against your charges, but an experienced lawyer can help you decide on the best way to proceed and ensure that you are treated fairly through each step of the criminal justice process.
Hit and Run Attorney in Des Moines, Iowa
With nearly 50 years of combined legal experience, the lawyers of McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. know exactly how to defend you against a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. You've got a tough fight ahead of you, but we are determined to represent you during this challenging situation. We know that you're feeling confused and stressed, and we can fight on your side to reduce your stress and help you feel confident in your defense.
Call (515) 279-9700 today to schedule your free consultation. We can analyze the details of your situation and give you an honest assessment of your options. With the advice of our skilled attorneys, you can be sure that you are doing everything possible to protect yourself from the jail time, heavy fines, and mark on your criminal record that you potentially face.
Leaving the Scene as Defined by Iowa Law
Iowa Statute Section 321 outlines that in the case of a vehicle accident, each driver involved is required to remain at the scene to provide information, including:
- Registration number
- Driver's license
In the case of an unattended vehicle, the driver is required to make a reasonable effort to locate the owner of the vehicle or leave their information in a conspicuous place.
If a driver flees the scene before giving this information, they can be penalized based on what damage occurred as result of the accident:
- If only the vehicular damage occurred and no one was injured, the offender can be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries the potential for up to 30 days in jail and up to $625 in fines.
- If a person was injured as a cause of the accident, the accused can be charged with a serious misdemeanor, with penalties that include up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1875.
- If the accident resulted in a person's death, the offender faces a Class D felony, which can be punished by up to 5 years in prison and maximum fine of $7500.
In addition to jail time and steep fines, an offender can have their license revoked. If the offense was serious enough, this suspension of their driving privileges can be extended permanently. This charge can also have a serious impact on the driver's insurance rates, causing their coverage to skyrocket it price or they may be dropped from their carrier altogether.
Any charge for "hit and run" after a car accident can also have a serious impact on the driver's insurance rates, causing their coverage to skyrocket it price or they may be dropped from their carrier altogether.
Hit and Run Investigations in Des Moines - Every year in the City of Des Moines, Iowa, law enforcement officers investigation approximately 1,700 hit and run accidents. When sufficient evidence exists to show who committed the crime, the officers can secure an arrest warrant for the crime of "leaving the scene." The Traffic Unit of the Des Moines Police Department uses special investigators to follow up on cases with any leads after a crash involving a parked vehicle, an occupied vehicle, attended property, unattended property, injury or death. Those follow up investigations can involve interviewing witnesses and people involved in the accident; going to the suspect's home or business to interrogate them; reviewing surveillance cameras of where accidents may have occurred; examining the physical evidence left at the scene of the accident; and securing a search or arrest warrant.
Hiring a Lawyer for "Leaving the Scene" Crimes in Des Moines, Iowa
At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we know exactly how important a proactive defense is. We're ready to aggressively take on the challenging situation that you face, and you can trust us to go the extra mile for you.
With so much at stake, you need to ensure that your attorney will fight on your behalf, no matter the circumstances. To enlist the aid of our experienced attorneys, call (515) 279-9700 to schedule your free consultation today.
This article was last updated on Friday, July 14, 2017.