Hit and Run (Leaving the Scene/Fail to Report) Accidents are Charged as a Traffic Crime ), Leaving the Scene to Avoid a DUI or DWLS

clinton twp police

In Michigan, the offense of leaving the scene of an accident (aka: failing to give identification at the scene of a crash) is charged as a crime. Leaving the scene of an accident is often abbreviated by the police and on Macomb County court notices and dockets as LSPDA or FTSA  for property damage accidents or LSPIA for personal injury accidents. Once an offense for LSPDA, FTSA or LSPIA is on a person’s record, it can never be expunged and can jeopardize personal rights (right to travel into Canada, right to obtain a concealed permit to carry a handgun/CPL). Although we have actively represented clients charged with traffic crimes and tickets in every Macomb County District Court, much of the information in this publication is based upon our extensive experience handling leaving the scene of accident tickets in the 37th District Court in Warren, 38th District Court in Eastpointe, 39th District Court in Roseville/Fraser, 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores, 41-A District Court in Sterling Heights and Shelby Township/Macomb/Utica, 41-B District Court in Clinton Township/Mount Clemens/Harrison Township, 42-1 District Court in Romeo/Washington Township, 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore/Chesterfiled Township.

A ticket for leaving the scene of an accident is a serious offense which has mandatory Secretary of State penalties, a range of court penalties and an inevitable impact on insurance premiums. Pleading guilty to the offense of leaving the scene of an accident without a lawyer is a sure way to wind up with regrets in the future. Leaving the scene of accident tickets can be negotiated in the court system to lower offenses and less severe consequences. However, the court system will treat individuals harsher for leaving the scene of a personal injury accident or, as I have heard it called, leaving a man down.

Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage or a personal injury

A driver’s duties following an accident are set forth in MCL 257.619. Failing to comply with these duties or failing to stop and give identification at the scene of a crash or leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal penalties along with administrative sanctions which are imposed by the Michigan Secretary of State.

MCL 257.618:  Leaving the scene of a property damage accident

  • Maximum jail: up to 90 days
  • Maximum fine: $100.00, plus court costs
  • Mandatory points: 6
  • License suspension: None
  • MCL 257.732a: Driver responsibility fees of $1,000.00 per year for 2 years

MCL 257.617a:  Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident

  • Maximum jail: up to 1 year
  • Maximum fine: up to $1,000.00, plus court costs
  • Mandatory points: 6
  • License suspension
  • MCL 257.732a: Driver responsibility fees of $1,000.00 per year for 2 years
  • Mandatory loss of CPL rights for eight (8) years pursuant to MCL 257.617a

Suspended licenese, no insurance, outstanding arrest warrants or trying to avoid a DUI are just some of the reasons that someone leaves the scene of an accident

The police are not stupid. When the police find a disabled and abandoned vehicle that is not being claimed until the next day, they are automatically suspicious that the driver was drunk, left the scene to avoid being tested for alcohol and waited to claim the vehicle until after alcohol levels dropped below the legal limit for DUI. The police will typically put a hold on the vehicle until it is claimed and a statement is made by the owner/driver. This is where most think that they will beat the system by claiming that the vehicle was stolen or that is was taken by some unknown person that they met during the prior evening. Believe me, we have seen it all and so have the police. Contacting the police before retaining a lawyer in this scenario is a big mistake. It is far better to let the lawyer do damage control and do all of the talking rather than get caught lying to the police and charged with filing a false police report which may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the circumstances.

Some other actual examples of cases where the police have caught someone leaving the scene of an accident:

  • Police follow trail of leaking transmission fluid leading to the vehicle involved in an accident.
  • Police follow snow tracks in a subdivision to the home where the vehicle was driven following an accident.
  • Police obtain plate number from a witness at the scene of an accident.

Drunk driving is not the only reason that is given as the reason for leaving the scene of an accident. Other common reasons include no insurance, suspension of driver’s license or outstanding arrest warrants. The first order of business if you find yourself in this position is to get a lawyer. An experienced Macomb County criminal and traffic defense lawyer will not only save a client from making incriminating statements to the police but will also be able to get the case under control in the court system.

Traffic related links:

Fail to stop within an assured clear distance/due care and caution

Reckless Driving in Michigan

Why it Pays to Fight Every Traffic Ticket

Michigan Secretary of State Point System

Michigan Driver Responsibility Fee Program

Links to Macomb County District Courts, Fines, Costs, Points:

37th District Court (Warren, Centerline) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

38th District Court (Eastpointe) Traffic Fines Instructions

39-A District Court (Roseville) Link to Website

39-B District (Fraser) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

40th District Court (St. Clair Shores) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

41-B District Court (Clinton Township, Mount Clemens, Harrison Township) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

41-A District Court (Sterling Heights) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

41-A District Court (Shelby, Macomb Township, Utica) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

42-1 District Court (Romeo, Washington Township, Richmond, Bruce, Ray) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule

42-2 District Court (New Baltimore, Chesterfield Township, Lenox, New Haven) Traffic Fines and Costs Schedule