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RHODE ISLAND LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT CHARGE

When the State alleges that you left the scene of an accident, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience defending individuals facing with Rhode Island criminal motor vehicle offenses immediately. Leaving the scene of an accident charges in RI, especially when they result in injuries, can often result in severe penalties including substantial jail sentences. When you contact the RI criminal defense team at Marin and Barrett, Inc. we can work with you to try and minimize the consequences of a leaving the scene of an accident charge and do our best to keep you out of prison.

Rhode Island Leaving the Scene of An Accident Lawyers
Attorneys Marin, Barrett, and Parrillo
Call Now to get your Best Defense! 401-228-8271

A leaving the scene of an accident charge can be extremely frightening.  This can be especially true because most of our clients charged with these types of charges have never been arrested or in trouble with the law before.  Fortunately, we have handled cases like this before and can help get you on the right track to a successful outcome.  Call our RI Leaving the Scene of an Accident Attorneys today at 401-228-8271.  We are available to help 24/7.

What is the duty to stop in accidents resulting in damage to vehicle in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island General Law 31-26-2 requires that a driver who has knowingly been involved with another attended vehicle stop immediately, or as soon as safely possible, to exchange information with the other motorist(s).  In the event the other motorist is injured, the law also requires that reasonable aid be given to assist and that the authorities notified.  Failure to do so may result in a criminal offense in Rhode Island.

What is the duty to stop in accidents resulting in personal injury in Rhode Island?

Much the same way a motorist is required to stop in the event there is an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle, Rhode Island General Law 31-26-1 requires that a driver stop after an accident that results in the injury or death of another person.  These requirements are spelled out in Rhode Island General Law 31-26-3: duty to give information and render aid.  Failure to stop in these situations can subject the driver to criminal charges.

What are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident that damages another vehicle?

A driver that is knowingly involved in an accident that leaves the scene where there is damage to an attended vehicle faces the potential punishments laid out in31-26-2.  This is a petty misdemeanor which carries up to six months in prison, fined between $500 and $1,000, and may has his or her license suspended for up to six months.  If the accident results in personal injury or death, the punishment is more severe.

Can I be forced to pay for the damage to the other driver?

Potentially, yes.  If convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, a defendant may wind up being on the hook for the out of pocket expenses of the other motorist or injured party.  Sometimes this can be as simple as reimbursing their deductible, but restitution can be costly if they are uninsured, under-insured, or severely injured.

What are the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident that results in injury or death?

Drivers that leave the scene of an accident that results in injury or death to another person are subject to the punishments laid out in 31-26-1.  If the other person is injured, it is charged as a felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both.  The punishment also includes a mandatory one year loss of license and up to five years.  If the other party is seriously injured, the potential penalties elevate to ten years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a two year loss of license.  Subsequent convictions in a five year period result in even further sentencing enhancements.  In the event the accident results in the death of another person, a conviction carries a minimum two year prison sentence and up to fifteen years, a $5,000 to $1,000 fine, and a three year loss of license. 

Can I still be charged with leaving the scene even if the accident wasn't my fault?

Yes.  Motorists are required to stop after an accident regardless of who may have been at fault.  In fact, liability or responsibility for an accident is completely separate from the duty to stop.  For instance, a driver who bears no responsibility for an accident may nevertheless be prosecuted if they leave the scene without complying with the stop requirements.

Can I be charged even if the other vehicle was unattended?

Yes, but not as a criminal offense.  In the event a motorist is involved in an accident with an unattended vehicle, Rhode Island General Law 31-26-4 requires that the driver either makes an attempt to locate the other owner or leaves a note with their information conspicuously on the vehicle.  Penalties for violations are spelled out in 31-27-13 and carries a potential civil violation of up to $500.

What if I was under the influence at the time I left the scene?

Theoretically you could be charged with driving under the influence.  However, if you are not apprehended at the scene it may be very difficult for the State to prove its case against you.  Proving DUIs can be difficult without breathalyzer or blood test results, but they can be much more difficult to prove if the defendant is not apprehended right away.  If you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, allow our attorneys to diagnose you case and help you reach the best possible result.

Are there defenses to leaving the scene of an accident?

Absolutely.  Like most criminal offenses, the proper defense or combination of defenses to use will largely be dictated by the specific facts and circumstances of each case.  That said, there are some common defenses.  For instance, if there was no accident.  Occasionally if a motorist believes he or she has been struck and the other car is fleeing, they may inadvertently take down wrong make and model of the vehicle, maybe even the wrong license plate.  Another potential defense is that you did not know you had been in an accident.  Of course, this is more often the case for minor accidents than major ones.  The third most common defense is that you were not the motorist.  Even though it may have been your car involved in the accident, you are only potentially responsible if you were driving.  Whatever your best defense may be, we will work with you to find it.  Call us today and put us to work defending your leaving the scene case.

What if I did not know I had been in an accident?

That could potentially be a defense to the charge.  Leaving the scene of an accident that results in damage or injury actually requires the State prove that the driver knowingly left the scene.  Now this does not mean that the State cannot bring charges, but it is the State's burden to prove based on the evidence that you actually knew that an accident occurred.

My car was is an accident that left the scene but I wasn't driving – can they still charge me?

Yes, but the State will have to prove it against you.  Oftentimes skilled defense attorneys are able to establish that a defendant was not actually driving and is therefore not criminally responsible.

Should I hire a Rhode Island Defense Lawyer for driving charges?

Since you have been reading these FAQs, you understand that the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident can result in jail time, suspended or revoked driving privileges, and a lot of out of pocket cost.  Don't leave your freedom and your finances to chance; hire an attorney who has the experience and the knowledge of the law to give your case the fighting chance it needs.  Contact our team of Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys at Marin and Barrett, Inc. today at 401-228-8271.

Rhode Island Leaving the Scene of An Accident Laws

§ 31-26-1. Duty to stop in accidents resulting in personal injury.

(a) The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury to, serious bodily injury to, or death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible, but shall then immediately return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of § 31-26-3. A stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.

(b) Any person knowingly failing to stop or to comply with the requirements under circumstances which result in injury to any person shall upon conviction be punished by a mandatory loss of license for at least one year and not more than five (5) years and imprisonment for not more than five (5) years and/or fined up to five thousand dollars ($5,000).

(c)(1) Any person knowingly failing to stop or to comply with the requirements under circumstances which result in serious bodily injury to any person shall upon conviction be punished as follows:

(i) Every person convicted of a first violation shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year and for not more than ten (10) years and by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000), nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000). The sentencing judge shall have the discretion to sentence the person to any unit of the adult correctional institutions. Additionally, the license of the person shall be revoked for a period of up to two (2) years. The license privilege shall not be reinstated until evidence satisfactory to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles establishes that no grounds exist which would authorize refusal to issue a license and until the person gives proof of financial responsibility pursuant to chapter 32 of this title.

(ii) For a second or subsequent conviction under this subsection within a five (5) year period, a person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two (2) years nor more than fifteen (15) years and by a fine of not less than three thousand dollars ($3,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). The sentencing judge shall have the discretion to sentence the person to any unit of the adult correctional institutions. Additionally, the license of the person shall be revoked for a period of up to four (4) years. The license privilege shall not be reinstated until evidence satisfactory to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles establishes that no grounds exist which would authorize refusal to issue a license and until the person gives proof of financial responsibility pursuant to chapter 32 of this title.

(2) As used in this subsection, "serious bodily injury" means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious physical disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

(d) Any person knowingly failing to stop or to comply with the requirements under circumstances which result in the death of any person, shall upon conviction be punished pursuant to the provisions of this subsection as follows:

(1) Every person convicted of a first violation of this subsection shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two (2) years and for not more than fifteen (15) years, in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge, by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), and his or her license to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked for a period of three (3) years. The license privilege shall not be reinstated until evidence satisfactory to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles establishes that no grounds exist which would authorize the refusal to issue a license, and until the person gives proof of financial responsibility pursuant to chapter 32 of this title.

(2) Every person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection within a five (5) year period shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five (5) years and for not more than twenty (20) years, in any unit of the adult correctional institutions in the discretion of the sentencing judge, by a fine of not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) nor more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) and his or her license to operate a motor vehicle shall be revoked for a period of five (5) years. The license privilege shall not be reinstated until evidence satisfactory to the administrator of the division of motor vehicles establishes that no grounds exist which would authorize the refusal to issue a license, and until the person gives proof of financial responsibility pursuant to chapter 32 of this title.

(e) This section shall apply in its entirety to any driver of a motor vehicle knowingly involved in an accident with a person riding a bicycle.

§ 31-26-2. Duty to stop in accidents resulting in damage to vehicle.

The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible, but shall immediately return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of § 31-26-3. A stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. Any person failing to stop or comply with these requirements under the circumstances shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), and/or his or her driver's license or operating privilege in the state may be suspended for a period up to six (6) months, and/or he or she may be imprisoned for a period not to exceed 6 months.

§ 31-26-4. Duty on collision with unattended vehicle.

The driver of any vehicle which collides with another vehicle which is unattended and damage results to either vehicle shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of the unattended vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in or upon the unattended vehicle a notice written in the English language giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances of the collision, and shall immediately give notice of the accident to a nearby office of local or state police. In the event the office so notified does not have jurisdiction of the locale of the accident, it shall be the duty of the officer receiving the notice to immediately give notice of the accident to the office having jurisdiction.
 

Attorney Marin Named A SuperLawyers Rising Star Five Consecutive Years 2014-2019

Attorney Matthew Marin has been named a Rhode Island Rising Star by SuperLawyers for 6 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2019. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.


Rhode Island Members of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorneys Marin and Barrett are both Rhode Island General Members of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.