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West Michigan

Leaving The Scene Of An Accident is a Misdemeanor charge in Michigan

Michigan Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Law

As a Criminal Defense Attorney, I have worked on a lot of cases that deal with leaving the scene of an accident. These charges will always vary based on the individual facts of the case. Clearly, the most common charge was Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Property Damage. This charge is a case where the defendant was in an accident and drove away. This charge carried with it a massive six points on your driving record and is a misdemeanor.

I understand that prosecutors will be talking to the police officer who is handling this case. They will also gather information from witnesses in the case. Common questions that prosecutors ask about these types of cases are:


  1. What is the nature of the damage?
  2. How bad was the property damage?
  3. What type of criminal record does the defendant have?
  4. What time of day did this accident happen at?
  5. What type of area did this happen at?
  6. What type of road did this happen at?
  7. Driving record of the defendant?
  8. Does the Defendant’s story match up to other evidence?

Mitigating Factors In Leaving The Scene Of An Accident​

I can promise you that it makes a big difference to a local prosecutor if the defendant has a clean criminal and driving record. It also makes a big difference if the person stopped, talked to the other driver and then decided they couldn’t wait around for police to show up. If the accident happens at 4am or someone destroyed a bunch of mailboxes prosecutors are not as likely to wheel and deal.

If my client is innocent, I fight aggressively to get the charges dropped. If they are guilty, I work hard to get them the best plea deal possible. One of the main goals I have when my client wants me to work on getting a plea deal is lowering the amount of points put on their driving record. Failure to report an accident is a misdemeanor but it has zero points assigned to a person’s driving record.

While leaving the scene of a property damage accident was always the most common charge, there is a much more serious offense for leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury. The facts for these cases are in many ways similar. The main difference is the other driver was injured. If the innocent driver suffers a serious injury or death, the charges continue to get more serious. When someone gets hurt in an accident, the prosecutor will consult with the injured party about how they want to resolve the case. If they injured person doesn’t want to cut the other driver a break, it is much harder for me to negotiate a plea deal.

Since I have handled a lot of these cases over the years, I know the options and ins and outs available for resolution of my client’s case. When the evidence is strong and there are witnesses and video available, I work out the best plea deal possible. If the evidence is strong, I prepare my clients for trial. In most of these cases, compromise and a solution that will make both parties happen is available.

As part of the punishment for these kinds of cases, restitution is often required. You can challenge restitution at a separate hearing, but in some cases as part of a plea deal the defendant agrees up front to the damages and forfeit their right to a restitution hearing.

Other Side Of The Story​

No matter what the facts of the case are, there is always another side of the story. While there is no excuse for the behavior, there usually are reasons.  I will present the reason in the best light possible to the prosecutor. If my client panicked and has a good driving record, I will use this to get the best plea deal for my client. If my client is going through emotional issues, I will let the prosecutor know this and point out what treatment they are getting to make sure this never happens again.

The treatments I consider having my clients get include counseling, safe driving courses, driving improvement courses and community service. These treatments look good in the eyes of all local prosecutors. By providing the other side with this complete picture, I show the prosecutor handling the case that this was a learning experience rather and not behavior that will keep on happening.

The Criminal Penalties for Leaving The Scene of a Vehicle Crash In Michigan​

When a person leaves the scene of an accident, a lot of different charges can be issued depending on the severity of the accident. Call me today at 616-438-6719 to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to get his clients the best results possible.

  • Hit and run accidents involving property or vehicle damage can result in a misdemeanor charge, with possible criminal penalties including up to 90 days in jail, up to $100 in fines and potential driver’s license suspension, according to Section 257.618 of the Michigan Vehicle Code.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident that caused injury to another person could result in a misdemeanor charge, with possible criminal penalties including up to one year in prison, up to $1,000 in fines and potential driver’s license suspension, according to Section 257.617a of the Michigan Vehicle Code.
  • Hit and run accidents involving severe bodily injury or death will result in felony criminal charges, with criminal penalties including up to 5 years in prison and potential fines of as much as $5,000, or 15 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines if you were at fault in the accident, according to Section 257.617 of the Michigan Vehicle Code.

Do not wait to talk to an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been involved in a leaving the scene of an accident. The longer you wait, the more dangerous the consequences become to you! I know how to get my clients the best results. I know how to give my clients the best customer service possible! So what are you waiting for? Call me now at 616-438-6719! The Call is free! Will you be? 

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