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 Car Accident
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, Illinois law requires you to do the following things:
- 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).
- If you can exit your car safely, scan the scene to make sure no one is injured.
- If anyone is injured, help them if necessary or requested.
- After surveying the scene, you should protect the injured person from traffic, then cover the injured person for comfort to avoid further injury.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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 [email protected].