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Can you face criminal charges after a car accident?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Most traffic violations in Maryland are not criminal in nature. Usually, when you get into a car accident and are at fault, the other driver may file a civil lawsuit, and your insurance will cover the other driver’s damages. However, there are some instances when you could face criminal charges. 

When does a car accident become a crime? Below are some examples:

You were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

It’s illegal for a driver to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving while impaired can have serious consequences, especially when it results in serious injuries or death. If you’re arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the criminal penalties you may face will depend on whether it’s your first, second or third offense. These penalties can include license suspension, fines and jail time.

You committed a hit-and-run

If you’re involved in an accident, you’re required to remain at the scene. When you flee the scene immediately after the accident to evade responsibility, you may face serious criminal penalties and motor vehicle sanctions. The penalties for leaving an accident scene may include points against your driver’s license, fines and jail time. 

Someone died in the wreck

Vehicular manslaughter charges may be involved if you cause an accident that results in death. In general, you may face these charges if the prosecution proves that you were driving in a grossly irresponsible and negligent way. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, it can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. 

The best way to avoid a criminal situation when driving is to be a good defensive driver and never put yourself in undue danger. However, if you are arrested after a car accident and are facing criminal charges, it’s crucial that you seek legal assistance