Several reports of Michigan hit-and-run accidents have been in the spotlight recently around the metro-Detroit area. In Harrison Township, a woman is being held in jail on $50,000 bond for striking a 17-year-old bicyclist. She is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Another accident occurred in Pittsfield Township where two teen siblings from Royal Oak were killed when a minivan attempted to merge into the same lane as the vehicle they were in. The driver in that accident has not been found.
No matter the seriousness of the accident, leaving the scene after a hit-and-run and before police arrive, can get you in trouble. In the case of the Harrison Township accident, the woman fleeing the scene could receive a sentence of up to five years in prison if she is found guilty.
Staying at the scene does NOT mean, however, that you must answer questions from the police or anyone else. Generally, it is better that you hold off on answering questions until you have had a chance to consult with your attorney.
Michigan law requires anyone involved in an accident to remain at the scene of an accident involving public or private property. Even if the property/vehicle is unattended, the driver is legally required to find the owner of the property and notify him/her or notify a police officer. Failure to do so can result in a possible sentence of up to 90 days in jail even if nobody is injured.
Leaving the scene of an accident can be serious. Therefore, if you or someone you love has been involved in such a situation, it is important to have a skilled and experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney on your side.