Getting into a car accident is one of the last things anyone wants to happen. Whether it is a fender bender or major crash, some motorists may feel tempted to leave the area to avoid trouble. However, leaving the scene of a car crash is against the law.
Missouri statute 577.060 states that fleeing an accident, commonly known as committing a “hit-and-run,” is a criminal offense. Here are the important facts everyone should know about the hit-and-run laws in Missouri.
What the law requires
Anyone driving a vehicle involved in a collision has the responsibility to stop in a safe location. Then, all motorists have the obligation to give the following information to either the other party or a law enforcement official:
- Residential address
- License plate and registration number of the vehicle
- Driver’s license information
Failure to take these actions constitutes a crime.
Criminal penalties for hit-and-run offenses
Abandoning the scene of a wreck is a Class A Misdemeanor, at the very least. The maximum punishments for this offense include one year of imprisonment and fines of $1,000. However, the offense is a Class D Felony if any of the following occurs:
- The crash results in over $1,000 in property damage
- The crash results in an injury to another party
- The fleeing motorist has a previous conviction or guilty plea of a similar crime, such as a DUI
The potential repercussions for a Class D Felony include 4 years of jail time and fines of $5,000.
Motorists who commit a hit-and-run may face additional penalties, including points on a driver’s license. This may result in a suspension or revocation of driving privileges. Further, insurance rates may dramatically increase. Additionally, if the other party suffers property damage or injury, there may be a civil lawsuit involved.
Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision is not an insignificant manner, even in the event of minor collisions.