In Wisconsin, it can be a crime to leave the scene of an accident – and it can be so serious that you end up in prison over it. So what really happens when you leave the scene of an accident?
Will You Get in Trouble if You Leave the Scene of an Accident?
If you operate a motor vehicle and are involved in a crash, you’re legally obligated to stay put. That means stopping your car immediately (as soon as it’s reasonably safe) and not going anywhere else. With that said, you don’t have to come to a dead stop in the middle of a busy expressway. However, you do have to pull off to the side, where it’s safer, right away.
You can be charged with hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident – and that’s a serious crime.
Hit and Run Charges in Wisconsin
If you are involved in a car accident, you’re legally required to stop and exchange information (including your name, address and your car’s vehicle registration number) with the other party. If the other party requests it, you’re supposed to show your driver’s license, as well. If anyone is injured, you also have to provide “reasonable assistance,” which can include taking that person to get medical help or making arrangements for an ambulance.
The state can convict you of hit and run if you:
- Knew you were in an accident
- The accident resulted in damage to a vehicle or injury or death to a person
- You did not immediately (or almost immediately) stop your vehicle and stay at the scene
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident depend on the outcome of the accident. For example, if nobody was hurt, the penalty can be a 6-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. However, if someone dies and you flee the scene of an accident, you’re looking at a Class D felony – and that’s significant time in prison.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
If you’ve been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, we may be able to help you. Call us to schedule a free consultation – we’re available at 414-383-6700. We’ll ask you some questions about your situation and answer your questions, as well, and if we can work together, we’ll start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.