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Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Leaving the scene of an accident in Massachusetts is another of the many crimes set out in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24. The statute is virtually non-comprehensible and extremely difficult for a lay person to read. As to leaving the scene, there are essentially three crimes for which you can be charged, each of which his significant differences in terms of proof and potential penalty.

  1. Leaving the Scene of Property Damage

    The law states that if you get into an accident, whether with another car or some other type of property and you fail to make known your name, address and vehicle registration you are guilty of a crime. To sustain a conviction of this offense the prosecutor must prove five things beyond a reasonable doubt. 1) that you operated a motor vehicle, 2) that it was on a public way, 3) that during the course of such operation you collided with or injured in some way another vehicle or property, 4) that you knew that you had done so and 5) that after doing so you failed to stop, give your name, home address and the registration number of your car.

    Fine of $20 to $200
    Jail sentence for between 2 weeks and 2 years

  2. Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury Not Resulting in Death

    The law pertaining to this crime is virtually identical to leaving the scene of property damage except that it adds the element of causing injury to another person.

    Fine of $500 to $1,000
    Jail sentence for between 6 months and 2 years

  3. Leaving the Scene of Personal Injury Resulting in Death

    Again, this crime has similar elements to the two crimes referenced above. The significant difference is that that accident her results in the death of another person and that the defendant must have left the scene in order “to avoid prosecution or evade apprehension”. This is a felony. Massachusetts district courts do not have jurisdiction over this crime.

    Fine of $1,000 to $5,000
    State prison sentence of 2 ½ to 10 years or jail for 1 to 2 ½ years There is a minimum mandatory 1 year sentence that must be served

This statute was enacted to enable anyone who was injured or whose property was damaged to a motor vehicle to get immediate and accurate information about the driver of the other vehicle. Your obligations under this statute are not satisfied by stopping at a remote place or being passively willing to answer questions. The statute imposes on you an affirmative duty to stop and make known the pertinent information.

The statute was created for another reason as well. People who operate motor vehicle while intoxicated have a tendency to flee after an accident to avoid prosecution. Most judges and prosecutors suspect that people who leave the scene of an accident without stopping and making themselves known did so because they should not have been driving. Thus, even though you might avoid the consequence of a drunk driving prosecution you are still looking at a severe penalty. Keep this in mind as well. The registry will take your license if you are convicted of leaving the scene after property damage, personal injury or death.

Case Results » Leaving the Scene of an Accident
  • Motor Vehicle Crime Charges Dismissed

    The defendant is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with property damage under G.L. c. 90 section 24. He retained our office months after being charged. We understood that our client never had a clerk magistrate hearing under G.L. c. 218 section 35. Once we made that clear to the judge we moved for a dismissal of the charges. The judge allowed our motion even though the district attorney objected. 

    This case was determined telephonically due to the courts being closed

    Read More in Clerk Magistrate Hearings

  • Charges of Leaving the Scene With Property Damage Do Not Issue After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    The defendant lives in a high income Boston suburb. On September 27, 2019 police in his town received an OnStar call alerting them to an accident severe enough to deploy airbags. The officers responded and found a mailbox had been knocked over. The OnStar operator identified the owner of the vehicle and his address. The officers went to the address and tried to make contact with the occupants. Noises, including voices within the home were heard by the police. Through a window they observed one of the home occupants on a stairwell. The police illuminated the garage with their flashlights and observed the vehicle, damaged and with deployed airbags. The next day officers contact the car owner. Their recorded conversation with the man matched the OnStar recording. Accordingly, charges of leaving the scene with property damage under G.L. c. 90 Section 24 were applied for. Attorney Neyman was retained to represent the defendant at the clerk magistrate hearing, G.L. c. 218 Section 35. After the hearing, we convinced the clerk magistrate not to issue the complaint. No charges will issue. 

    Read More in Clerk Magistrate Hearings

  • Pretrial Probation for Woman Charged With Leaving the Scene of an Accident With Property Damage

    Several weeks ago our client was at a local bar with a friend. She left the establishment, backed out of the parking lot and struck a parked vehicle. She then left the scene. A patron in the lot witnessed the incident. He called the police to alert them to what he just saw. The man provided the police with the license plates. Officers met up with the woman at her home and questioned her about the incident. She admitted to having committed the crime and a criminal complaint issued charging leaving the scene of an accident with property damage G.L. c. 90 Section 24. Attorney Neyman was hired. Today, our office was able to get the woman pretrial probation. All charges will be dismissed.

    Read More in Motor Vehicle Crimes

Client Reviews
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