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The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are harsh

A car crash is a traumatic experience, even if it is only a fender bender. Those involved should always stop and deal with the aftermath responsibly.

If you cause a car accident in Maryland and leave the scene of the crash, you could face severe penalties, including jail time and the loss of your driver's license.

Understanding the law

According to the law in the state of Maryland, leaving the scene of a vehicle accident is classed as a hit-and-run if it results in either bodily harm or property damage. You may do no more than cause a dent in the bumper of a car you hit from behind, but if you drive away without even stopping to follow the usual post-accident formalities such as the exchange of insurance information, you can be found guilty of a hit-and-run traffic violation.

Facing the penalties

For leaving the scene of the rear-end collision in which you damaged the other driver's property - from denting the bumper to smashing the whole back end - you could face up to 60 days in jail and a fine as much as $500. Furthermore, fleeing the scene could add up to eight points on your driving record, and your license could be revoked.

If the crash results in bodily harm to someone else, you could be looking at felony charges, including prison time of up to five years and a $5,000 fine. Even worse, if your hit-and-run causes a fatality, you face a charge of felony manslaughter, up to 10 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines.

Severity matters

A criminal defense attorney will tell you that the penalties you face for a hit-and-run conviction will depend on the severity of the incident. Your goal if facing such charges is to obtain as positive an outcome as possible. However, the best course of action is to behave responsibly after a car crash of any kind, which begins with remaining at the scene.

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