Connecticut Hit and Run Lawyer
The top traffic lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Wilton, Fairfield, Norwalk and New Canaan regularly find themselves defending Evading Responsibility (also known as Hit-and-Run) charges. These charges arise when a driver leaves the scene of a car accident which has caused personal injury or property damage without properly identifying themselves to the injured party or property owner, or without calling the police. When people leave the scene without reporting it or identifying themselves, police and prosecutors alike are usually suspicious that there was a good reason why the driver disappeared—in most cases, the presumption is that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs and were trying to duck, or “evade” a DWI charge.
Is Evading Responsibility a Felony or a Misdemeanor in CT?
The Connecticut crime of Evading Responsibility is more colloquially known as “Hit-and-Run” or “Leaving the Scene of the Accident”. To review the full text of the Evading Responsibility statute, C.G.S. § 14-224, click here.
Whether your Connecticut Evading Responsibility charge is considered a felony or misdemeanor solely depends on the alleged damage the car accident has caused. Felony evading charges arise from a collision that causes serious physical injury to another person (i.e. broken bones). Misdemeanor evading responsibility charges involve non-serious physical injury (i.e. whiplash, bruises) or any type of damage to another’s property. A conviction of the felony charge carries probation, a minimum one-year jail sentence and a maximum of ten years, or alternatively, a fine of up to $10,000.
The misdemeanor charge carries maximum penalties of up to one year in jail, probation, or fines of up to $600. Convictions for subsequent offenses carry enhanced penalties. And as explained below, in all cases of convictions—no matter how serious—the Connecticut DMV will suspend you driver’s license. For these reasons, it’s critical to consult an experience Evading Responsibility criminal lawyer in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Wilton, Fairfield, Norwalk and New Canaan to assist you in fighting your Evading Responsibility / Hit-and-Run charges.
Do I Need an Attorney to Fight an Evading Responsibility Ticket?
The attorneys at Mark Sherman Law are often asked whether a criminal lawyer is needed to handle Evading Responsibility charge. Often police in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Wilton, Fairfield, Norwalk and New Canaan will issue a misdemeanor summons and complaint ticket for Evading Responsibility and will not book the suspect down at the police station—that is, they will not photograph, fingerprint or otherwise process the suspect for an Evading Responsibility charge. Know, however, that this is still an arrest for a misdemeanor or felony, in spite of the fact that it may just feel like a speeding ticket. Unfortunately, this loose and lax process sometimes spills over into court and people then plead guilty to the Evading Responsibility charge and pay a modest fine, not fully appreciating they have just created a permanent criminal conviction record for themselves. Therefore, prior to making any pleas in court, it’s a good idea to consult a Connecticut criminal lawyer who could help you navigate the court process.
Is it Still Hit-and-Run If I’m Involved in Just a One-Car Accident?
Hard to believe, but technically, yes. And the reason is that even though you may have only damaged your car, the chances are you’ve damaged another person’s or business’ property, such as landscaping, stonework, or something else of value that needs to be replaced and covered with insurance. In these cases, Connecticut law requires you to stay at the scene of the accident and call the police to report it. This allows the police and insurance companies to properly investigate the damage claims and submit the proper paperwork to make everyone whole.
How the Mark Sherman Law Attorneys Can Help You Fight Your Evading Responsibility Charges
Our sole goal is to get your charge dismissed as quickly as possible. We aggressively advocate on your behalf during the court process and are not afraid to push back with the courts or prosecution if necessary,
The lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have years of experience in fighting Evading Responsibility charges. Each case is reviewed by two attorneys. We dissect the police reports, and analyze and scrutinize the reports closely to determine whether there are any defects in the charging information and supporting documentation. As is often the case with evading charges, we thoroughly interview you and gather secondary evidence to offer to the court and prosecutors to prove that if you did in fact leave the scene of the accident, it was not out of malice or irresponsibility, as there are often very fair and non-criminal reasons one would move their car after an accident. As we have learned over the years, there are usually two sides to a story and we effectively communicate your side to the prosecutors who are willing to listen.
DMV & Auto Insurance Consequences
Not only do Connecticut Evading Responsibility convictions carry the possibility of jail, probation and fines, but there are also serious DMV and auto insurance consequences—further reason to fight these charges if possible. A guilty plea to the felony subsection results in a one-year suspension of your Connecticut driver’s license, and a two-year suspension for each subsequent offense. A guilty plea to the misdemeanor subsection carries a 90-day suspension. These suspensions and convictions are eventually reviewed by your auto insurance carrier during renewal periods and could materially affect your premium payment, or in some more serious cases, result in the carrier’s decision to not renew your coverage or terminate coverage going forward.
Contact Us Today
If you have been pulled over and issued an Evading Responsibility / Hit-and-Run ticket or charge in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norwalk, or New Canaan, please call an attorney at Mark Sherman Law to learn how we can help you. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (203) 358-4700.