Last month’s arrest of Greenwich restaurant worker Vyacheslav Cherepov for manslaughter and hit and run illustrates just how serious evading responsibility charges can be in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and all throughout Connecticut. There, Mr. Cherepov was accused of hitting a 21-year-old woman in the Byram section of Greenwich, and fleeing the scene.
Hit and run / evading responsibility arrests like these which cause personal injury or property damage under C.G.S. § 14-244 are taken seriously in Connecticut. As most top Greenwich and Stamford evading responsibility criminal lawyers would concede, police and prosecutors usually believe hit and run suspects flee the scene for one reason only—because they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and don’t want to get caught with a DUI / DWI. Yet drunk drivers should understand that fleeing the scene of an accident can often lead to harsher penalties than an actual DUI / DWI.
There are two kinds of Evading Responsibility crimes in Connecticut. The first type, under C.G.S. § 14-244(a), is the most serious and involves a driver of a motor vehicle who has fled the scene after causing death or serious physical injury to another driver or pedestrian. The law requires them to stop and give their name, contact info and insurance information to the injured party, and to call the police to report the accident. A violation of this statute is a felony charge which carries a minimum one year jail sentence and maximum 10 year sentence, along with fines and probation.
The more minor Evading Responsibility charge is under C.G.S. § 14-244(b) which requires a driver causing property damage or minor physical injuries to another driver or pedestrian to stop and provide their name, contact and insurance information to the victim, and to also call the police. A conviction for this misdemeanor subsection results in a maximum one-year jail sentence as well as possible fines and probation.
We often get calls from people arrested for Evading Responsibility in Stamford, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Westport and Greenwich, who get into one-car accidents. They hit a tree, a fence, a telephone pole, highway divider or guardrail and they damage their car only. They sometimes do not even cause damage to the other piece of property involved in the accident. So they drive away and make good faith efforts to get their car fixed. Believe it or not, this is still the crime of evading responsibility, and under Connecticut law, you have a legal obligation to immediately report this accident to the police. As illogical as this sounds, we often represent drivers who have been arrested in this exact scenario. While we are generally able to get their Connecticut Evading Responsibility charges dropped, the law requires that these drivers go through the criminal arrest, arraignment and pretrial negotiation process. The most important factor in cases like this is that the car was insured at the time of the accident.
Top Stamford Evading Responsibility lawyers will tell you that a critical component of any Evading Responsibility defense is convincing the prosecutor and judge that the accused was not drunk or under the influence when the accident happened. The Mark Sherman Law criminal lawyers are well-versed in crafting Hit and Run defenses for their clients. In certain hit-and-run cases, we can work with you to gather witness statements, forensic evidence, and cell phone and credit card records, to prove to the court and prosecution that it was unlikely you were drinking and driving at the time of the car accident, whether you were involved in a one or two car accident.
And in the event you are charged with both DUI / DWI and Evading Responsibility, we can work with you to craft the most appropriate defense—whether it is challenging the charges and taking them to trial, or alternatively, building a case for leniency and mitigation. We will lay out a rehabilitation and treatment plan which will show the Court an appropriate and meaningful amount of remorse and drug and alcohol rehabilitation, with the sole goal of getting you best possible result in your court case.
So if you have recently been charged with Hit-and-Run / Evading Responsibility in Stamford, Greenwich, Westport, Wilton, Darien, New Canaan or anywhere else in Connecticut, give the Stamford Evading Responsibility lawyers at Mark Sherman Law a call today. Our rates as reasonable, and our team approach distinguishes us from our competitors. Give us a call at (203) 358-4700 today to discuss your Evading Responsibility charges.