New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600(2): Leaving scene of an incident without reporting- personal injury

In New York if you are involved in a car accident where there is property damage, physical injury, or injury to an animal you must let someone know. It is against the law to simply drive away. If you fail to stop you could be charged with a traffic violation or a crime. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600(2) if you are in a vehicle accident and you know or should have known that someone was injured, it is against the law to leave the scene of the accident before giving the following information to the other person involved in the accident or to a police officer:

  1. Your name
  2. Your address
  3. Proof of insurance, including the carrier's name and effective dates of the police
  4. Your license number
Example

Ben was driving down a street when the car in front of him slowed down and then stopped. Ben hit the back of the car. He got out of the car and was surprised to see that there was no damage other than a barely noticeable scratch on the other car. Tim, the driver of the other car, exited his car as well. He also saw that there was no damage. Ben asked Tim if he was OK. Tim said yes, although he was rubbing the back of his neck. Ben shook Tim's hand, apologized, and handed Tim his business card. Ben drove away. Tim got back into his car. However, he began to feel dizzy. He decided to call the police and report the accident. Tim was admitted to the hospital with neck and back injuries. Ben was later contacted by law enforcement and was charged with leaving scene of an incident without reporting. Ben may escape a conviction as he would have a strong argument that he did not know and did not have reason to know that Tim was injured.

Related Offense
  1. Leaving scene of an incident without reporting- property damage: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600(1)
  2. Leaving scene of injury to certain animals without reporting: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 601
Defenses

In order to be convicted of leaving scene of an incident without reporting, the prosecutor must show that you knew or should have known that someone was injured. If the circumstances were such that you did not realize you hit another vehicle, or that you caused injury to someone, then such a charge would not be appropriate. In addition, if the injury that someone suffered was very minor and not a "physical injury" as defined in the criminal code, then you may have a valid defense to a leaving scene of an incident without reporting charge.

Sentence

Leaving scene of an incident without reporting where someone was injured is a misdemeanor. If your violation was based solely on failing to show your license and insurance information, the violation would be considered a Class B misdemeanor and your sentence would be a fine of $250-$500 and up to 90 days in jail. Otherwise, the violation is a Class A misdemeanor and your sentence would be a fine of $500-$1000 and up to 1 year in jail. If it is your second offense, then the crime would be considered a Class E felony. You sentence would be up to 4 years in prison and a fine of $1000-$2500. Furthermore, if the injured person dies as a result of the accident then the charge would be a Class D felony, punishable up to 7 years in prison and a fine of $2000-$5000.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600(2): Leaving scene of an incident without reporting- personal injury
  1. Any person operating a motor vehicle who, knowing or having cause to know that personal injury has been caused to another person, due to an incident involving the motor vehicle operated by such person shall, before leaving the place where the said personal injury occurred, stop, exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle, when such card is required pursuant to articles six and eight of this chapter, and give his or her name, residence, including street and street number, insurance carrier and insurance identification information including but not limited to the number and effective dates of said individual's insurance policy and license number, to the injured party, if practical, and also to a police officer, or in the event that no police officer is in the vicinity of the place of said injury, then, he or she shall report said incident as soon as physically able to the nearest police station or judicial officer.
  2. It shall be the duty of any member of a law enforcement agency who is at the scene of the accident to request the said operator or operators of the motor vehicles, when physically capable of doing so, to exchange the information required hereinabove and such member of a law enforcement agency shall assist such operator or operators in making such exchange of information in a reasonable and harmonious manner.
  3. A violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision resulting solely from the failure of an operator to exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for the vehicle or exchange the information required in such paragraph shall constitute a class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty nor more than five hundred dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any subsequent such violation shall constitute a class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision, other than for the mere failure of an operator to exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle or exchange the information required in such paragraph, shall constitute a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any such violation committed by a person after such person has previously been convicted of such a violation shall constitute a class E felony, punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law. Any violation of the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision, other than for the mere failure of an operator to exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle or exchange the information required in such paragraph, where the personal injury involved (i) results in serious physical injury, as defined in § 10.00 of the penal law, shall constitute a class E felony, punishable by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law, or (ii) results in death shall constitute a class D felony punishable by a fine of not less than two thousand nor more than five thousand dollars in addition to any other penalties provided by law.
New York Leaving Scene of an Incident Without Reporting Lawyer

Leaving scene of an incident without reporting where there is personal injury is a serious offense even though it is classified as either a misdemeanor or a Class E felony. The consequences of being convicted of this offense are still significant in that you could spend a considerable amount of time in prison and you may be ordered to pay a substantial fine. Furthermore, if you are convicted points will be added to your driving record leading to an increase in your insurance rate and the possible suspension of your license. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes such as leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, vehicular assault, and vehicular manslaughter. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of traffic offenses in the following locations:

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