Being involved in an accident can be a highly stressful and overwhelming experience. However, the situation can become even more complicated if you find yourself facing charges related to leaving the scene of property damage in Massachusetts. In this blog post, we will explore the laws surrounding this offense and discuss potential defenses that can help protect your rights.
Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without fulfilling certain obligations, particularly if the accident involves property damage. According to General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 90, Section 24(2)(a)(1), any driver who knowingly leaves the scene after causing property damage is subject to penalties, including fines and potential imprisonment.
To comply with the law and avoid potential charges, it is important to understand your obligations at the scene of an accident involving property damage. When involved in such an incident, the following steps should be taken:
- Stop immediately: If you are involved in an accident that results in property damage, it is imperative that you stop your vehicle immediately at the scene. Failing to do so can lead to serious legal consequences.
- Exchange information: You are required to provide your name, address, vehicle registration number, and license information to the other party involved in the accident. Similarly, you should gather this information from the other party as well.
- Notify law enforcement: In Massachusetts, you must report the accident to the local law enforcement agency if it involves property damage exceeding $1,000 or results in injury or death.
If you find yourself facing charges related to leaving the scene of property damage, it is crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. They will work to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific case. Here are a few potential defenses that can be employed:
- Lack of knowledge or intent: To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly left the scene of an accident involving property damage. Your defense attorney can argue that you were not aware of the accident or that you had no intention to leave without fulfilling your obligations.
- Lack of damage: If there is a dispute regarding the extent of property damage, your attorney can challenge the prosecution's evidence by presenting expert testimony or evidence that contradicts their claims.
- Necessity or emergency: In some cases, leaving the scene may be justified due to a medical emergency or immediate threat to your safety. Your attorney can argue that leaving the scene was a necessary action under the circumstances.
Facing charges related to leaving the scene of property damage can be a daunting experience, but understanding the laws and potential defenses can help protect your rights. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is crucial to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process and provide the best defense possible. Remember, everyone deserves a fair chance to defend themselves and present their side of the story in a court of law. Call DeGiacomo & Mikhlin, P.C. today for a free consultation to discuss your case if you have been charged or accused of Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.