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Will I get in trouble if I leave an accident scene?

The aftermath of an auto accident can be confusing. You may not realize the seriousness of the situation right away, which could lead to leaving the scene before law enforcement comes. 

In some cases, you may not know if you need to wait. According to FindLaw, the best thing for you to do is to call law enforcement after an accident. They will let you know if you must stay or if you can leave. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime if you do not have permission by law or from an officer to do so. 

What you must do

At minimum, after an accident, you must exchange information with the other driver. You both must provide each other with your names, addresses and registration numbers. 

If there is an injury or death, you must provide assistance to help anyone injured by either personally helping or contacting emergency personnel. 

Hit and run

In a situation where you hit an unoccupied vehicle, you must try to find the owner. If you cannot, then you must contact law enforcement. You still have the duty of providing your information to either the owner or an officer. 

The penalties

Leaving the scene of an accident without providing your information to the other driver or an officer is a crime. If there are no serious injuries or death, then it is a misdemeanor. However, if someone does have a serious injury or someone died in the accident, it becomes a felony. Charges can be more severe if you have had other incidents in the past or if you are under the influence of a substance at the time.