Ask any top Stamford criminal defense attorney and they will agree that the charge of evading responsibility also known as (hit-and-run) or (leaving the scene of an accident) is among the most frequently charged crimes in Fairfield County. There are many different scenarios in which these crimes occur. The basic elements of the crime are simple, you leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident in which property damage or personal injury occurs without stopping to exchange or leave your personal information with the other party or contacting the police. Many State’s Attorneys automatically assume that everyone who flees the scene of an accident is attempting to escape a charge of DUI /DWI and that is why they took off. However, in my experience there are a lot of other reasons why people leave the scenes of accidents and the cases are not as black and white as the Police make them out to be. If you are under investigation for evading responsibility, or have evaded responsibility for a motor vehicle accident contact our office as soon as possible so that we can take immediate action to de-escalate the situation and have the situation resolved with a reduced charge or prevent an arrest entirely. If you have been already arrested for evading responsibility contact a Stamford evading responsibility defense attorney at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman to schedule a free initial consultation so we can review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action to try and have the charges against you dismissed.What Is Evading Responsibility / Hit-and-Run?
The statutory citation for evading responsibility is Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-224. Many people refer to this crime as “hit-and-run.” It is also commonly referred to as “leaving the scene of an accident.” The statute requires you to stop immediately when you are involved in an accident and render assistance “if possible” and provide your name, driver’s license number and address and license plate number, or in the alternative if for any reason the operator is unable to stop and provide this information then the operator must IMMEDIATELY report the accident to a Police officer or Police Station. It should be noted that this is not a traffic ticket. It is a crime. It can be either a felony or misdemeanor level crime depending on the nature of the damage or injury that has been alleged to have been caused by the accident.
If the accident resulted in death or ANY INJURY no matter how slight such as a minor bruise or strain then it is a felony level evading responsibility and you could face up to 20 years in jail if the accident resulted in a death or 5 years in jail if the accident resulted in a physical injury of any kind. Please note that this is a newly enhanced version of the statute which took effect on October 1, 2016 and which raised the bar on the penalties for minor injuries to a felony level offense. This new revision created a lot of uncertainty and confusion in the enforcement of the statute as the Police are often without guidance on how to classify minor reports of aches and sprains that are often reported after a motor vehicle accident. In defending these charges, now we are forced to file motions obtain the medical records of the victim to determine if they actually suffered a bona fide “injury.” In these cases we have to leave no stone unturned to find every possible avenue to get these charges dismissed or reduced because the consequences of having a felony level criminal conviction can be life changing and have significant effects on your ability to secure employment opportunities in the future. Make no mistake if you are charged with a felony level offense you should take no action until you have consulted with a Stamford evading responsibility defense lawyer.
If the accident resulted in only property damage then the offense is a misdemeanor level offense punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $600 and the loss of your drivers’ license.
With the change of the law in October of 2016 evading responsibility has become almost like playing Russian roulette with your future and your liberty. If you leave the scene of an accident and someone has sustained a minor injury of some kind you will likely to be charged with a felony level evading responsibility which can expose you to jail time, significant periods of probation and a criminal record that will destroy your future. If you are reading this before the Police have arrested you it is imperative that you contact a Stamford evading responsibility defense attorney now to take immediate action to mitigate and de-escalate the situation by contacting the Police and attempting to resolve the situation without the need for an arrest by providing the needed information to the officers investigating the accident as soon as possible. If you have already been arrested then you should contact us so that we can set up a free initial consultation to review all the facts of your case and begin to develop a plan to defend your rights and work to have the charges dismissed if possible or reduced.Why Retain the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman?
- Evading Responsibility Investigations and / or Arrests take place at all hours so we are available 24/7
- 25 years of experience defending Evading Responsibility Charges
- We will fight to protect your liberty and our focus is on results that will get you the best outcome possible
- Free initial consultation
- Reasonable rates / payment plans
- Our guiding principle is “Clients come first” – we take the time to get to know you as a person, learn the facts of your case thoroughly, with the objective to get you the best result possible
Every case is different. Each case has its unique set of circumstances which distinquish it from all other cases. However, after 25 years of experience as a Stamford evading responsibility defense attorney I have learned to identify some common themes or fact patterns for evading responsibility cases which can help us to understand how these crimes occur and what kind of steps we can take to defend the charges. No matter what the facts of your case we have the experience to come up with a plan to resolve your evading responsibility charge and put it in your past.A. The Undocumented Alien with No Drivers’ License or Insurance
This is a very frequent situation where alcohol may not be a factor in the decision to flee the accident. Sadly when some undocumented aliens get into very minor fender benders they will simply take off because they fear deportation and the Police. I think that fear is taking control of rational thought during these situations. I have heard from many of my clients that they just panicked and had tremendous fear and ran. Had the driver just waited at the scene they probably would have just got a court appearance summons for having no license (or insurance as the case may be) and released. Instead, by fleeing the scene in a panic they are now most certainly going to face a custodial arrest via an arrest warrant and more serious problems. In these situations in most cases the victim makes note of the license plate number on the vehicle they were driving as they take off or follows them. Often if the vehicle is inoperable they will just abandon the vehicle and walk away and go hide somewhere. However, there is no hiding, the Police have the plate number and will track you down by finding out who registered the car for you or who lent you the car. 90% of these individuals wind up being caught and facing the charge of evading responsibility.
If this is your situation, you are not only going to face the charge of evading responsibility but you also may face additional charges for driving without a license and in many situations operation under suspension. Do not worry, we have a lot of experience in resolving these cases. You are not going to jail. As long as you had insurance on the vehicle which will cover the damages to the other vehicle or in the alternative if you make payment of restitution to the victim for the damages then this is the kind of case that should be able to be resolved through a diversionary program leaving you no criminal record.B. The Slight Bumper Scrape in a Parking Lot
In this very common scenario our client is shopping in a mall or supermarket and trying to squeeze into a tight parking space and makes slight contact with another vehicle leaving some small mark by accident. Rather than get out and leave a note on the other car about what happened the client makes a bad split second decision to just drive off thinking that no one was watching. With modern video surveillance in many cases there is video tape of the incident which has captured your plate number. In other situations a bystander may write down your license plate number. Either way you will be shortly contacted by the Police and arrested for evading responsibility. In these cases very often my clients have told me that the contact with the other vehicle was so slight that they did not realize that they had caused any damage. In these cases I have had success in having the charges reduced to failure to show an insurance ID card which is a non criminal traffic violation.C. Under Attack by the Other Party
Everyone loves their car. I have come across cases over my 2 decades of criminal defense practice where a minor fender bender turns into a hostile and violent confrontation while the parties are awaiting the Police and my client was fearful of being attacked or was actually physically attacked by the other party and as a result took off. Obviously, in this scenario, the best course of action would be to call 911 immediately. However, for whatever reason I have had some clients who were so fearful or in shock that they just ran and hid. They wound up being charged with evading responsibility. Obviously, the fact that they were subject to a physical attack and feared for their safety is a mitigating factor that we may use to try and convince the State’s Attorney to dismiss or lower the charges.D. The One Car Accident
Over the years I have represented many people who have crashed into stone walls, utility poles, jersey barriers and the like in one car collisions. In many of these situations the operator may fear that they are legally intoxicated and do not wish to wait around for the Police to arrive to investigate the incident and face a possible DUI/DWI. Erroneously, the clients assumed that because it was a one car accident that they could flee the scene without reporting the incident without the risk of being arrested for evading responsibility. However, even in the case of the one car accident, when you impact into something you have caused property damage and the owner of that property needs to be notified and informed so that any damages can be repaired. (One time I had a client who caused $50,000 in damages to a stone wall in Greenwich in a one car collision). So under the law you are under an affirmative obligation to contact a Police officer and make a report of any one car collision or you could face a charge of evading responsibility. If you walk away from the accident scene and the Police find you walking down the road some distance away you are going to get charged with evading responsibility. If you are feel that you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs then before you make that call to the Police you should make a call to our 24/7 emergency response line at (203) 357-5555 for some sound legal advice and guidance on how best to handle your situation before you proceed.
Remember although you are under an affirmative statutory duty to report the accident to Police, you have a Constitutional right to refuse to answer any questions beyond providing your name, address, driver’s license and your registration and insurance. You have the absolute right to request to have a Stamford criminal defense attorney present before you answer any questions about the accident or engage in any field sobriety tests.How Does This Work? Do I Really Need an Attorney?
Evading responsibility is a serious charge that carries serious consequences you need to have a free initial consultation with a Stamford evading responsibility defense lawyer to review your defense options as soon as possible. Often when you get a misdemeanor summons for evading responsibility the Police will not take you down town and book you. In these situations the clients may not be aware that the charge of evading responsibility is a criminal charge, and will result in a criminal arrest history and upon conviction has the potential for significant jail time, fines, probation and a 90 day license suspension. This is why you should take the charge of evading responsibility very seriously and schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman to review the facts of your case and our plans to defend your rights and get your charges dismissed if possible.
With 25 years of experience in defending evading responsibility charges I have seen it all from A to Z. I have the experience and the insight to develop a strategy to achieve the most favorable outcome in your case. I believe the first step in defending every criminal charge is a detailed free initial consultation case evaluation we will review all of the facts of your case. By getting to know you and all the facts and unique circumstances of your case I start to get an idea of what type of defense will be best suited to your case. The next step is to carefully review the Police reports and witness statements for any inconsistent statements, mistakes or errors.
Often we work to put together a package of mitigation documentation to attest to your good character and law abiding lifestyle. These materials consist of letters of recommendation, citations for community service, ect. The goal is to try to put a human side to your case and explain to the State’s Attorney that your actions were not motivated by the criminal intent to evade responsibility for the accident but rather by some other reasonable and non –criminal purpose. For example in one case, I had a client who was simply trying to move his broken car a few houses down the street from the accident to his home to park it before the engine seized so he would not have to call a tow truck.
Over 25 years of defending evading responsibility cases we have run across cases where there is just no defense to the charge and the client was in reality just trying to take off from the accident and got caught red handed. In these cases we will usually make use of the accelerated rehabilitation program which is a diversionary program which will lead to a dismissal of the charge and no criminal record upon successful completion of the program.
We have experience in working in Courts all over the State of Connecticut. In many cases having an experienced Stamford criminal defense attorney to handle your evading responsibility arrest can make the difference in having that matter dismissed or reduced down to a lesser charge.Contact a Connecticut Evading Responsibility Defense Attorney Today!
If you have been arrested for evading responsibility in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Cos Cob, Fairfield, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Bridgeport and throughout the County of Fairfield do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman. We work on a flat fee basis and our rates are very reasonable. Call Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free initial consultation and case evaluation – we are available 24/7 to respond to urgent matters when you are the subject of an investigation or being questioned by Police. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.