A: Call your lawyer FIRST for legal advise and guidance! Definitely do NOT make a statement on the telephone or go in for an interview at the police station, before consulting with, and hiring, a good, experienced DC attorney. Simply put, any and everything you say to the police “can and will be used against you” as incriminating evidence in a potential prosecution in court.
In Washington, DC, if you are involved in an motor vehicular accident, fender-bender or a minor collision of ANY sort – even if you are NOT at fault and you are certain the other driver is wrong – DC law requires that you STOP and 1) identify yourself by providing your name and 2) show proof of insurance. You are not required to show your driver’s license or vehicle registration. In the alternative, should you be concerned for your personal safety and/or that of others, you can CALL the police or REPORT to the nearest police station.
§ 50–2201.05c. Leaving after Colliding (LAC PD or LAC PI)
(a) Any person who operates or who is in physical control of a vehicle within the District who knows or has reason to believe that his or her vehicle has been in a collision shall immediately STOP and:
(1) Where another person is injured, call or cause another to call 911 or call or cause another to call for an ambulance or other emergency assistance if necessary, remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives, and provide identifying information to law enforcement and to the injured person;
(2) Where real or personal property belonging to another is damaged or a domestic animal is injured, provide identifying information to the owner or operator of the property or the owner of the domestic animal or, where the owner or operator of the property or the owner of the domestic animal is not present, provide or cause another to provide identifying information and the location of the collision, to law enforcement or 911; or
(3) Where real or personal property or a wild or domestic animal, as a result of the collision, poses a risk to others, call or cause another to call 911 and provide identifying information, the location of the collision, and a description of the nature of the risk posed to others.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (a) of this section, which the defendant must show by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s failure to stop or his or her failure to remain on the scene was based on a reasonable belief that his or her personal safety, or the safety of another, was at risk and that he or she called 911, or otherwise notified law enforcement, as soon as it was safe to do so, provided identifying information, provided a description of the collision, including the location of the collision or event, and followed the instructions of the 911 operator or a law enforcement officer.
(c) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that the defendant:
(1) Was intoxicated, impaired in any way, or distracted; or
(2) Was not at fault for the collision.
(d) (1) (A) A person violating subsection (a)(1) of this section shall upon conviction for the first offense be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or incarcerated for not more than 180 days, or both.
(B) A person violating subsection (a)(1) of this section when the person has a prior offense under subsection (a)(1) of this section and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
(2) (A) A person violating subsection (a)(2) or (a)(3) of this section shall upon conviction for the first offense be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or incarcerated for not more than 30 days, or both.
(B) A person violating subsection (a)(2) or (3) of this section when the person has a prior offense under subsection (a)(2) or (a)(3) of this section and is being sentenced on the current offense shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, or imprisoned not more than 90 days, or both.
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It is important to contact a Washington, DC defense or DUI attorney if you are facing Leaving after Colliding or similar charges in the District of Columbia. Such a matter can have potential devastating consequences and a skilled DC defense lawyer can make all the difference. If you, or someone you know, need legal assistance with this or a similar matter, call and ask to speak to one of our experienced DC DUI or criminal defense trial lawyers today: 202.486.1186.