Are you facing criminal charges for a hit and run in Chicago? If so, it is important to speak with an experienced Chicago hit and run attorney as soon as you can. Leaving the scene of an accident is prosecuted aggressively in Illinois. The consequences of a hit and run conviction are harsh and may even include mandatory time behind bars. You have the right to fight the charges against you and the Kostopoulos Law Group can help.
Call former prosecutor Gus Kostopoulos today to schedule a free consultation. We have more than 30 years of combined legal experience and understand that your future is on the line. We utilize an aggressive pre-investigative process that is designed to minimize the consequences of your arrest. In many cases, we are able to get the charges against our clients reduced or dismissed. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to set up a free consultation and learn more.
What is a Hit and Run in Illinois?
When you operate a car on the road you assume certain duties and responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of an accident that causes property damage, bodily injury, or death. Pursuant to Illinois 625 ILCS 5/11-402, drivers who are “involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of another person” or “damage to a vehicle” have an obligation to:
- Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident;
- Exchange personal information with others involved in the accident;
- Assist or arrange for injured person(s) to receive medical care; and
- Remain on the scene until the matter is resolved.
Elements of a Hit and Run
If you breach this requirement, as imposed by law, you can face criminal charges for a hit and run. However, in order to convict you of this crime the prosecution must be able to establish that you are guilty of each element of the crime. This means that the prosecution must prove:
- You drove a vehicle that was involved in an accident;
- This accident caused another person to suffer property damage, bodily injury, or death; and
- You drive away from the scene without exchanging information, checking to see if anyone needs medical attention, and waiting for police.
Exchange Personal Information
Illinois law requires you to provide all of the following information to any parties who suffer an injury in your accident:
- Your name;
- Registration; and
- Name of the owner of the vehicle.
Ensure Injured Parties Get Medical Help
If you are involved in an accident that causes another person to suffer an injury you are required to make sure that they receive medical attention. This can include bringing that person to a medical facility yourself and/or making arrangements to have them transported by an ambulance or law enforcement officer.
Responsibility to Stay or Return
It is important to know that if you do leave the scene of an accident you have a short window of time to return. In most situations, this means that you must return to the scene or find a safe location within 30 minutes of the accident. If you are injured in the accident you must report the incident to your local police within 30 minutes of being discharged from the hospital. If your accident impedes traffic or puts you at risk of harm, you are permitted to move to the side of the road or drive a reasonable distance to find a safe location to pull over.
Consequences of a Hit and Run in Chicago
Leaving the scene of an accident, or a hit and run, can be a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Chicago. The specific charge you face will depend on the type and seriousness of damage that was inflicted and your criminal record.
Hit and Run Causing Property Damage: A hit and run for an accident causing only property damage is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. You may also be required to pay restitution to your victim for the extent of his/her property damage.
Hit and Run Causing Personal Injury or Death: A hit and run for an accident causing another person to suffer a personal injury or death is a Class 4 Felony, punishable by 1-3 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Hit and Run Involving Alcohol: When you are charged with a hit and run you are required to submit to chemical testing. Refusing to take or failing the tests can result in Class 2 Felony charges, punishable by up to 7 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Fatal Hit and Run Involving Alcohol: If you flee the scene of an accident that results in another person’s death and either refuse or fail chemical testing, you can face Class 1 Felony charges. A Class 1 Felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
In addition to jail time, restitution, and hefty fines your driving privileges may also be suspended or revoked. Contact an experienced Chicago hit and run attorney to learn more about how to get your suspended license reinstated.
Defending Hit and Run Charges
When you are accused of a hit and run in Chicago you have the right to defend yourself. The best way to limit the prosecution’s ability to build a case against you is to assert any argument that will explain or excuse your alleged behavior. When these arguments are successful, the prosecution will be more likely to offer a plea or dismiss the charges altogether. Defenses that may be helpful in your Chicago hit and run case include:
- You were not involved in an accident;
- You did not know that you were involved in an accident;
- You were not aware that anyone was injured; and/or
- You took all reasonable steps to uphold your duty.
Call Chicago Hit and Run Attorney Gus Kostopoulos Today
Have you been charged with a hit and run in Chicago? Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to find out how we can help to limit the consequences of your arrest. We know that a conviction for a hit and run will have serious consequences and limit your ability to live a normal life. If your license is suspended or revoked you will have difficulties getting to work and caring for your family. You can limit the likelihood of being face with these (and other) consequences by hiring an experienced Chicago hit and run attorney to defend you. Call the Kostopoulos Law Group today to set up a free consultation and learn more.