As you may know, you not only have a moral, but legal responsibility to stop and render aid when you have been involved in a traffic accident. Whether the accident resulted in serious injury to the other driver or not, it is a crime to knowingly flee the scene. More specifically, South Carolina Code § 56-5-1210 states that "the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of a person immediately shall stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident." If anyone fails to comply with these legal requirements, they could either be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense—depending on the extent of the other driver's injuries. Apart from this, they would also be liable for failing to exchange insurance information if they were at fault for causing the accident.
Under the law, a misdemeanor conviction for leaving the scene of an accident would result in imprisonment for no less than 30 days and no longer than 1 year, as well as a fine between $500 and $5,000—which would be applicable if the accident resulted in injury to the other driver. If the accident caused great bodily injuries, the offender could be charged with a felony offense. This would result in imprisonment for no less than 30 days and no longer than 10 years, as well as a fine between $5,000 and $10,000. Finally, one would be charged with an even more serious felony offense if they had fled the scene of an accident in which the other driver was killed. This would result in imprisonment for no less than 1 year and no longer than 25 years, as well as a fine between $10,000 and $25,000.
It is important to understand that the law does permit a driver to temporarily leave the scene of an accident if they intend to report the accident to the proper authorities, however, which makes this area of the law rather complex. If you were to be accused of attempting to flee the scene of an accident, for example, you may be able to avoid prosecution if you could adequately prove that you had intended to find help. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to discuss your case with a Lexington criminal lawyer from the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC if you have been faced with any such accusations. Your initial consultation won't cost you a thing when you contact our firm at (888) 301-6004 or submit a
free case evaluation form online, so we encourage you to take the first step today.