The most common thought after an auto accident has to do with the health and welfare of everyone involved. If you were involved in an auto accident, your first thought would be to make sure that you and your passengers are not injured, and then you would probably go to check on the other driver. While the need to make sure everyone is not hurt would be a priority for most people, that is not the way everyone would react to an accident. It is unfathomable to think that some people consider fleeing the scene of an accident after they hit someone, but it does happen. What escapes their minds are the consequences associated with a hit and run accident.
Queens Man Involved In A Hit And Run Accident
Inshan Ali was walking home from a party he had attended on the night of May 29, 2016. Ravi Sookram of Queens, New York was driving his Lexus SUV along that same road and hit Ali in an accident that is considered to be unintentional. The shame Sookram and his family feel does not come from the action of Sookram hitting and killing Ali. The shame comes from the fact that Sookram ran from the scene in his SUV and waited one month to surrender to police.
During the police’s one month investigation, it was discovered that Sookram had ordered replacement parts for his SUV and repaired the damage from the accident. The act of fixing his vehicle elevated Sookram’s crime from a personal injury case to a case of tampering with the evidence of a crime. Sookram was sentenced to two to six years in prison (the maximum sentence would have been three to nine years) for leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and tampering with the evidence of a crime.
Sookram insisted that he was sorry for what had happened, but even his own family referred to his hit-and-run accident as “cowardly.” Since Sookram fled the scene of the accident, he will not face the real consequences for everything he had done. Was he intoxicated that night? Was he driving distracted in any way? The only thing he could be charged with were the two felonies, and that still leaves Ali’s family with a lot of questions.
What Is A Hit-and-Run Accident?
In most states, a hit-and-run accident occurs when someone hits another vehicle, pedestrian, or static object with their vehicle and then leaves the scene without identifying themselves or offering to help anyone who has been injured. Some states have added animals to that list, but most states do not require that a driver stops to address the aftermath of hitting an animal. A hit-and-run accident can take place on a public road, a private road, or in a parking lot. As long as the conditions of the accident fit the crime, it is considered a hit-and-run accident.
What Are The Penalties Faced For Fleeing The Scene Of An Accident?
One of the interesting and unusual outcomes about the case of the Queens man who hit and killed a pedestrian is that he was not officially charged with manslaughter. In most cases, the simple act of hitting something or someone and then leaving the scene carries some very specific penalties of its own. Along with those specific charges, the driver will also have to face any charges associated with the aftermath of the accident.
If a driver injures a pedestrian or causes an accident with injuries, then most states consider that a felony hit-and-run accident. The penalties for a felony hit-and-run accident can include up to a $20,000 fine and time in jail. In some states, depending on the severity of the incident, a hit-and-run felony could bring in as much as 15 years of jail time.
The idea of a hit-and-run misdemeanor should not trick you into thinking that the penalties are not severe. As a general rule, hit-and-run misdemeanors can bring fines of up to $5,000 and jail time of up to one year.
Misdemeanor and felony hit-and-run accidents usually result in the loss of the driver’s license for anywhere from six months to as much as three years. Some states will take your license from you for good, depending on the nature of your hit-and-run accident. There could also be administrative fines you have to pay on top of the fines imposed for the original offense.
A hit-and-run accident is a serious incident for the victims and can carry serious penalties for the driver who committed the crime. While we all want to believe that we would take responsibility for our actions in the event of an auto accident, we never really know what we will do until an accident actually occurs, but consequences will follow regardless.