Massachusetts motor vehicle law requires that anyone who cases, as a result of a motor vehicle collision, property damage, personal injury, or death must provide certain identifying information. Specifically, the law requires the driver who cases death, injury, or property damage to provide his or her name, residential address, and license plate number. A “leaving the scene” conviction can result in files, surcharges, jail time, and a license suspension of at least 60 days, up to one year for property damage accidents. Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident will result in a revocation of one or two years. Leaving the scene after causing a death will result in a 3 year revocation for a first offense and a 10 year revocation for a second offense. Additionally, “leaving the scene” of any property damage or personal injury accident is considered a major offense for the purposes of the Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Law.
The purpose of the “leaving the scene” law statute is to enable anyone whose person or property has been injured by a motor vehicle to obtain immediate and accurate information about the person who was driving the striking vehicle. It imposes an active and positive duty on the operator to immediately stop at the scene and provide specific information as set forth in the statute. This enables the driver to be identified and makes it simple for the victim to locate the driver afterwards.
Notifying the police long after the accident does not satisfy the strict requirements of the law. Instead who are involved in personal injury or property damage accidents are required to notify the victim directly, remain at the scene of the accident, or to call the police immediately after the accident.
In order to sustain a conviction in a “leaving the scene” case, the prosecution must demonstrate that the driver collided with or otherwise caused death, injury, or property damage. This requires that the suspect knew that he had been involved either in a collision or in causing injury in some other way. Note that these are alternatives: if the suspect knew that he had been in a collision, it is not necessary that he also have been aware of any resulting injury.
If you have been charged with or arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, you should contact a motor vehicle defense lawyer such as Attorney Paul B. Watkins. Attorney Watkins has achieved excellent results for his clients charged with Massachusetts automobile law violations.