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Leaving the Scene of an Accident Can Result in Criminal Charges

joliet leaving the scene accident lawyer

The fight or flight response is a natural physiological process in our bodies that kicks in when we experience something that is frightening or stressful. The term “fight or flight” refers to the two options our ancestors had when faced with danger and the two options we often have when faced with danger today. Imagine you are driving and you completely miss the stop sign, driving out into the intersection and slamming into someone else who was also in the intersection. You have two choices: either get out of your vehicle and face the situation at hand or remain in your vehicle and drive away as fast as you can. Legally, you are required to do the former, as fleeing the scene of an accident can result in misdemeanor or even felony charges.

Leaving the Scene of a Property-Damage Only Accident

If you get into an accident that only damages the other driver’s vehicle, you are still required by law to stop. When you stop, you must exchange information with the other driver, such as your name, address, vehicle registration number and insurance information. You are not permitted to leave the scene of the accident without providing this information, though you are permitted to move your vehicle out of traffic or to a safe place that is away from the accident site, as long as you still exchange information.

If you fail to do so, you face a Class A misdemeanor charge , which can result in penalties such as up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. If the damage to the other person’s vehicle was valued at more than $1,000, then such information will be sent to the Secretary of State’s Office, which will then suspend your driver’s license.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Death or Bodily Injury

If you are convicted of fleeing the scene of an accident that involved the death or bodily injury of another, you can face even more serious charges. You are required by law to immediately stop and exchange information and/or provide reasonable assistance to the other driver. If the other driver is seriously injured or dead, you should call 911. Even if you do not call for emergency services, you will still be required to report the accident to police and provide your information within 30 minutes of the accident or within 30 minutes of leaving the hospital after receiving medical treatment for your own injuries.

Fleeing from the scene of an accident involving death or bodily injury is a Class 4 felony, meaning you could face one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If you do not report the accident to police, you could face a Class 2 felony charge -- which can mean three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines -- if the accident did not result in the death of another. If it did and you did not report the accident, you could face a Class 1 felony charge, which can result in four to 15 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. If you are convicted for any of these felony charges, the Secretary of State’s office will revoke your driving privileges.

A Joliet, IL Traffic Violation Defense Attorney Can Help

When you are in an accident and faced with that fight or flight response, it is important that you do not choose flight. Unfortunately, we do not always have control over our instincts. If you have been charged with fleeing the scene of an accident, it is crucial that you contact a Will County traffic violation defense lawyer right away. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we will work to keep you from a conviction if at all possible. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

Avoid a Ticket for Misusing the Left Lane on Illinois Interstates

joliet traffic ticket lawyer

By the time summer finally arrived in northeastern Illinois, we were all anxious to get out and enjoy the beaches, ballparks, and other outdoor fun--even though we often have to fight heavy traffic to get there. Always remember, however to drive safely, because a traffic ticket will only slow you down and thin your wallet. Be especially careful in using the left lane on Illinois interstate highways, or you could find yourself paying a $120 ticket , plus court costs, for misuse of the left lane.

A state law in effect since 2004 states that drivers must stay out of the left lane on interstate highways and fully access-controlled highways except when passing another vehicle. The Illinois State Police (ISP) have cautioned motorists that they will be using unmarked vehicles this year to identify drivers who abuse the left lane. The unmarked vehicles will then alert patrol cars stationed further up the highway to stop and ticket the violators, who are being tagged as “left lane lollygaggers.”

This state law (625 ILCS 5/11-701) does not apply, however, when no other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle in the left lane. As long as you are not impeding traffic by driving too slowly in the left lane, you should not be ticketed for left lane abuse--although you could, of course, be ticketed for a speed violation.

Driving and remaining in the left lane of an interstate highway is also allowed when:

• Traffic congestion makes it impractical to drive in the right lane;

• Weather conditions make it necessary to drive in the left lane;

• Obstructions or hazards are present in the right lane;

• Emergency or disabled vehicles are present on the right shoulder; or

• You have to be in the left lane to exit or use an I-Pass lane.

ISP has said they may also ticket drivers who tailgate left lane lollygaggers, so as to discourage this behavior as a means of getting slower drivers to shift over. Other high-risk motorist behaviors of top concern to ISP include driving impaired , speeding, texting while driving, and not wearing seatbelts.

Will County Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney

Too many moving violations in a short period of time can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. To avoid another traffic offense conviction, call an experienced Joliet traffic ticket defense lawyer . Attorney Jack L. Zaremba has a distinguished track record as a criminal defense attorney in Will County for over a decade. Call 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.

The Significance of Miranda Warnings

joliet juvenile miranda rights lawyer

Just because someone is accused of a crime does not mean that the protections and rights provided to them by the U.S. Constitution do not apply. Criminal suspects have certain rights, which, if violated, can dramatically affect the outcome of any criminal proceedings. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right against self-incrimination. The Sixth Amendment ensures the rights of criminal defendants, including the right to know the nature of the charges and evidence against you and the right to consult with a lawyer.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

If you have ever been arrested, you should have heard a version of the following: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” Specific wording can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but these warnings are generally known as the Miranda Warnings . Before being questioned by police, you must be given these warnings.

Do Not Submit to a Police Interrogation Without an Attorney Present

After a criminal suspect is arrested, police officers often interrogate the suspect. Before doing so, they must recite the Miranda warnings to the suspect and give him or her an opportunity to say nothing during the interrogation. If suspect indicates that he or she is choosing to remain silent , the interrogation must stop. If the suspect requests a lawyer, police cannot continue the interrogation until an attorney is present. It is very important for anyone accused of a crime to have a lawyer present during any police questioning or interrogation. A lawyer can protect your rights and help you avoid incriminating yourself.

While not being “read your rights” does not absolve you of any wrongdoing, it can dramatically affect the outcome of your case. If you are interrogated without being given your constitutional right to remain silent or contact an attorney, anything you said during the interrogation will not be admissible in court.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have reason to believe that your Miranda Rights were violated, it very important to seek counsel from a qualified attorney. Contact an accomplished Joliet Illinois criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. Call today at (815) 740-4025 for a free consultation.

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