In our modern world, driving is seemingly a right bestowed upon every adult who has taken a driving test. Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth. Rather, driving is a privilege that can be easily lost due to traffic code violations or even felony convictions.
Leaving the scene of an accident is one such offense that can lead to loss of driving privileges and even incarceration in some cases. State law requires a driver who is involved in an accident to stop and give aid when needed as well as to exchange information with the other driver. The law also requires drivers to notify local enforcement about such an accident if there are injuries or damage to a vehicle in excess of $1,500. (See 625 ILCS 4/11-402, -403 and -404).
If you collided with a parked car that is unattended (empty) or with another vehicle, you must stay on the scene. Failure to do so could lead to a class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine and as much as two years of probation. Additionally, the Secretary of State’s office could opt to suspend driving privilege. From the statute:
(b) Upon conviction of a violation of this Section, the court shall make a finding as to whether the damage to a vehicle is in excess of $1,000, and in such case a statement of this finding shall be reported to the Secretary of State with the report of conviction as required by Section 6-204 of this Code. Upon receipt of such report of conviction and statement of finding that the damage to a vehicle is in excess of $1,000, the Secretary of State shall suspend the driver’s license or any nonresident’s driving privilege.
And given that most damage to car will run more than $1,000, suspension is a very real possibility.
The penalties are even more severe if there is injury or death involved. If you leave the scene, it’s automatically a class 4 felony which carries a maximum penalty of up to three years behind bars. The law also requires a driver involved in such an accident to report the matter to police within 30 minutes. If that isn’t done, then it could be a class 2 felony with a maximum of up to seven years. If a person dies, that could be upped to a class 1 felony which has a 15-year maximum prison term. (see 625 ILCS 5/11-401).
If a person is convicted of this, then the Secretary of State will revoke a person’s driver’s license.
With the stakes that high, you need an attorney who has handled a large volume of such cases. Here at Miller Law Offices, we bring years of experience on both sides of the aisle. Matt Miller has prosecuted such cases and has defended them as well. He understands how important your driving privileges are to you and will work as hard as he can to make sure you are treated fairly. If you have been given a ticket or are facing criminal charges, stop by our office and let us try to help you.