Leaving the Scene of an Accident

san-ramon-ca-hit-and-run(625 ILCS 5/11-402)

If you are prosecuted for leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois, you will need legal representation.  Leaving the Scene of an Accident (LTSA) is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2500 fine in addition to probation up to 24 months.

Judges take these offenses seriously, especially if there is evidence that alcohol was involved.  A prosecutor could accuse you of trying to avoid getting a DUI and if alcohol impairment is evident, you could face more punishment.  You will need an experienced attorney to protect you from added punishment.

Moreover, a conviction for LTSA can also adversely affect your driving privileges, leading to a suspension or revocation of your privilege to drive.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, Illinois law requires you to do the following things:

  1. You must stop at the scene of the accident.  (Preferably, either leave the vehicle where it is, or move it to a place that is safe and well-lighted.  Do NOT leave the scene).
  2. If you can exit your car safely, scan the scene to make sure no one is injured.
  3. If anyone is injured, help them if necessary or requested.
  4. After surveying the scene, you should protect the injured person from traffic, then cover the injured person for comfort to avoid further injury.
  5. Call 911 immediately and do NOT move the person.  If you move the person causing further injury, you may be liable for those injuries you may have caused.
  6. You are required to give immediate notice of an accident to law enforcement.  625 ILCS 5/11-407.  If no police officer is present, you must give notice of the accident by the fastest available means of communication to the local police department or nearest headquarters of the Illinois State Police.
  7. If the accident involves property damage without injury or death, you MUST provide information to the other driver(s).  If you fail to give information or give false information or fail to render aid, you could be prosecuted for a Class A misdemeanor violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-403, punishable up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2500 fine in addition to probation for up to 24 months.
  8. If you strike a parked or unattended vehicle, the law requires you to immediately stop and attempt to locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle.  If you cannot identify them, you must securely attach in a conspicuous place on or in the vehicle you struck written notice giving the your name, address, registration number and owner of the vehicle you were driving (if you do not own the vehicle you were driving), and, without unnecessary delay, notify the nearest police department to make a written report of the accident.  (625 ILCS 5/11-404).
  9. You have a DUTY to report the accident if the accident involves property damage in excess of $1500 (or $500 if any of the vehicles involved in the accident is not covered by a lawful insurance plan) OR  if the accident results in any injury or death of any person. 625 ILCS 5/11-406
  10. Legally, you have 10 days after the accident to report it to the Illinois Secretary of State.  This is the orange and white form you are given by the police officer.  This form is mainly used for administration purposes and is not used as evidence against you if you are subsequently prosecuted.
  11. If you fail to report the accident and you are convicted of a violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-406, the Secretary of State shall suspend your driving privileges.  625 ILCS 5/11-406(e).
  12. If you are physical incapable of reporting the motor vehicle accident but you have a passenger that is able to make a written report of the accident, such occupant is commanded by law to make or cause to be made such written report.  If the report is not made, the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident must cause, without unnecessary delay, the report to be made to the Administrator at the Secretary of State’s Office.  625 ILCS 5/11-410.
  13. If you provide a false motor vehicle accident report, whether oral or written, with knowledge or reason to believe that such information is false, is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, punishable up to 30 days in jail and/or $1500 fine in addition to 24 months probation.  625 ILCS 5/11-409.

Below is the precise statute published in the Illinois Compiled Statutes.  If you are cited for this violation, email Jeff Hall at jhall@hallrustomfritz.com.

(625 ILCS 5/11-402) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-402)

Sec. 11-402. Motor vehicle accident involving damage to vehicle.

(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such motor vehicle accident or as close thereto as possible, but shall forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of such motor vehicle accident until the requirements of Section 11-403 have been fulfilled. A driver does not violate this Section if the driver moves the vehicle as soon as possible off the highway to the nearest safe location on an exit ramp shoulder, a frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location that does not obstruct traffic and remains at that location until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of Section 11-403. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. If a damaged vehicle is obstructing traffic lanes, the driver of the vehicle must make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle or have it moved so as not to block the traffic lanes.

Any person failing to comply with this Section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(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.

(c) If any peace officer or highway authority official finds (i) a vehicle standing upon a highway or toll highway in violation of a prohibition, limitation, or restriction on stopping, standing, or parking imposed under this Code or (ii) a disabled vehicle that obstructs the roadway of a highway or toll highway, the peace officer or highway authority official is authorized to move the vehicle or to require the operator of the vehicle to move the vehicle to the shoulder of the road, to a position where parking is permitted, or to public parking or storage premises. The removal may be performed by, or under the direction of, the peace officer or highway authority official or may be contracted for by local authorities. After the vehicle has been removed, the peace officer or highway authority official shall follow appropriate procedures, as provided in Section 4-203 of this Code.

(d) A towing service, its officers, and its employees are not liable for loss of or damages to any real or personal property that occurs as the result of the removal or towing of any vehicle under subsection (c), as provided in subsection (b) of Section 4-213.

(Source: P.A. 97-763, eff. 1-1-13.)

If you are arrested for LTSA, it is strongly recommended you contact an experienced traffic attorney to represent you.  Attorney Jeff Hall is a former chief traffic prosecutor in Central Illinois and he can assist you.  Email Jeff at jhall@hallrustomfritz.com.