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Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In Michigan: Here’s What To Know

February 24, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan is a crime. The penalties include fines, jail and driver’s license points and suspension. A driver who has been involved in a crash must: (1) stop; (2) provide personal information; (3) present a driver’s license; and (4) help secure medical aid for anyone injured.

The crime of leaving the scene of an automobile crash is almost always committed by the at-fault driver who caused the car crash. Often this is because the driver who flees the scene is uninsured or is driving on a suspended license or is driving another’s vehicle without permission. A person can be found guilty of leaving the scene even if he or she was not at-fault for the auto accident.

To learn more, check out this video of Michigan Auto Law attorney Josh Terebelo being interviewed by Fox 2 Detroit:

What is unlawful about leaving the scene of an automobile crash?

Unlawful leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan occurs when a driver fails to: (1) stop at the crash scene; (2) provide information; (3) present a driver’s license; and (4) assist in securing medical aid. (MCL 257.617(1); 257.617a(1); 257.618(1); and 257.619)

What information must I provide to not get charged with leaving the scene of an automobile crash?

At the scene, you must provide: (1) your name and address; (2) your vehicle registration number; and (3) the name and address of the owner of the vehicle you were driving to the police, crash victims and others involved in the crash. (MCL 257.619) You must also show them your driver’s license.

Leaving the scene of a automobile crash with no injuries

You can still be found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan even if no one was hurt in a car accident. Leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan – even a car accident with no injuries – is still a crime if the accident you were involved in resulted in damage to another person’s vehicle. (MCL 257.618(2))

The key to understanding potential criminal exposure under Michigan law is that the threshold inquiry is not whether or not there is an injury, but was there vehicle damage as a result of a crash.

Leaving the scene on an accident involving a single car

Leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan involving a single car is against the law if the driver of the single car knew or had reason to believe that he or she had been “involved in an accident with an individual,” such as a pedestrian or a bicyclist. (MCL 257.619)

Is leaving the scene of an accident a felony?

Leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan is a felony if “the accident results in serious impairment of a body function or death . . .” (MCL 257.617(2))

What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident ?

The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine or both if serious impairment of body function or death occurs. If the fleeing driver was at-fault, then the fine could be $10,000 and the prison term could be 15 years. (MCL 257.617(2) and (3))

If an accident results in injury, the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan is a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine, up to a year in jail, and a driver’s license suspension. (MCL 257.617a(2) and (3)) If only vehicle damage occurs, it is a misdemeanor with a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail. (MCL 257.618(2))

Will I get points on my driver’s license for leaving the scene of an accident?

You will get 6 points on your driver’s license for leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan. The Michigan Vehicle Code provides that “[f]ailing to stop and disclose identity at the scene of an accident when required by law” results in “6 points” being entered on a fleeing driver’s license. (MCL 257.320a(1)(d))

Will my driver’s license be suspended for leaving the scene of an accident?

Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days for leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan that resulted in an injury. Additionally, if you commit the felony of leaving the scene of a car accident that resulted in serious impairment of body function or death, then your license will be suspended for one year.

The Michigan Vehicle Code provides for a mandatory 90-day driver’s license suspension for “[f]ailing to stop and disclose identity at the scene of an accident resulting in injury in violation of section 617a.” (MCL 257.319(3)(a)); 257.617a(3))

Although the Michigan Vehicle Code does not specifically address the issue, it suggests that a driver who commits a felony by leaving the scene of an accident that results in serious impairment of body function or death (in violation of MCL 257.617(2) and (3)) will have his or her driver’s license suspended for one (1) year. (MCL 257.319(2)(c)(iv))

What happens if you leave the scene of an accident?

If you leave the scene of an accident in violation of the Michigan Vehicle Code, you may face the following sanctions: (1) being found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor; (2) paying a fine; (3) going to jail; (4) going to prison; (5) getting points on your license; and (6) having your driver’s license suspended.

What if you leave the scene of an accident when you are not at fault?

You can be found guilty of unlawfully leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan even if you were not at fault for causing the crash. Whether you were at-fault or not, the Michigan Vehicle Code requires you to stop at the scene if you knew or had reason to believe you had been involved in an auto accident.

However, there is one important instance where fault does come into play. Leaving the scene of an automobile crash that you were at-fault for causing and that resulted “in the death of another individual,” then you could be found guilty of a felony, fined up to $10,000 and sent to prison for up to 15 years. (MCL 257.617(3))

What happens if both parties leave the scene of an accident?

No driver may leave the scene of an accident until he or she has stopped, provided the legally required information and helped secure medical aid. The drivers of the vehicles involved in a crash cannot legally agree to ignore the law and their duties and responsibilities under the Michigan Vehicle Code.

Can passengers leave the scene of an accident?

Passengers can leave the scene of an accident. The requirement to stop and remain at the scene of a crash applies only to “[t]he driver of a vehicle who knows or who has reason to believe that he has been involved in an accident.” (MCL 257.617; 257.617a; 257.618; and 257.619)

Leaving the scene of the automobile crash if you feel unsafe

Leaving the scene of an automobile crash if you have “a reasonable and honest belief that remaining at the scene will result in further harm” is not a crime so long as you “immediately report the accident to the nearest or most convenient police agency or officer” and provide the legally required information. (MCL 257.617(1); 257.617a(1); and 257.618)

Is it illegal to leave the scene of an accident in parking lot?

Leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan in a parking lot without carrying out a driver’s legal duties and responsibilities is a crime. The law requiring drivers to stop at a crash scene apply to crashes that occur on public roads and on “private property that is open to travel by the public.” (MCL 257.617; 257.617a; 257.618)

Have you been injured by someone leaving the scene of an automobile crash? Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident involving someone leaving the scene of an accident in Michigan and you have questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. You can also get help by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

Leaving The Scene Of An Accident In Michigan: Here\'s What To Know

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