It's never a good idea to flee the scene of an accident, but sometimes people get scared or don't realize that a crash happened at all. If you know that you were the cause of a collision or were involved in a hit-and-run crash and left the scene, now is a good time to contact a defense attorney and to talk over your options before you turn yourself in.
The reason that you may want to talk to an attorney first is to see what your options are and how to approach the police about what happened. You don't have to run to the police station in a panic. You have time to contact someone, go over your options and make a plan for turning yourself in before or after a warrant is issued.
The law doesn't require you to turn yourself in
It is true that there is no law requiring you to turn yourself in for a hit-and-run crash if you didn't get caught. However, if the police do figure out that you were involved in the crash, a warrant may be issued. Then, if you're caught, you could face harsher penalties for fleeing without any intention of returning to the scene or to report to the police.
There are some benefits to turning yourself in, such as:
- Increasing the likelihood of lowering or having no bail to pay
- Increasing the chance of indemnity, because turning yourself in may put you in good faith with your insurance company
- Helping you get a better deal when your attorney negotiates a settlement or when you go to court
- Avoiding harassment by the police at home, work or on the road
Though it is possible to turn yourself in without speaking with your attorney, it's not usually a good idea. A criminal defense attorney is trained to help in cases like this. Their job is to represent you and protect your best interests. If no warrant has yet been issued, you may be in a better position, and this is something your attorney will go over with you as well. While it may not be pleasant to admit to being involved in a hit-and-run, you do need support. Everyone's situation is different, so get to know your legal options before turning to the police.