Though most people will at some point in their lives experience an auto accident, it can be a truly terrifying experience. Even relatively minor accidents can be frightening and overwhelming. If you are an immigrant, however, this can be an even more upsetting experience. Being involved in an auto accident can bring with it a variety of criminal charges, and with them the potential to encounter ICE and face deportation. By understanding what types of criminal charges you could face after being involved in an auto accident you can be better prepared to discuss these issues with your immigration lawyer and help protect your desire to remain in this country.
Failure to Stop (Also Known As Leaving the Scene or Hit and Run)
Whenever there is an auto accident, regardless of how minor the accident is, all parties involved are required by law to stop. This allows for the parties to discuss the issue with each other and share contact and insurance information. In more serious accidents it is required that law enforcement be involved in order to assist with any injuries and address any criminal liability. If you do not stop and properly discuss the situation with the other driver or drivers involved, you could be charged with what is known as a failure to stop, leaving the scene or hit and run. Depending on how serious the accident is and if there are any injuries or deaths, you could face a wide variety of punishments including fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges and possible deportation.
You may be charged with reckless driving after an auto accident if it can be shown that you intentionally drove in such a way that you put the safety and wellbeing of other drivers and their property at risk. The specific way that such an offense is defined varies and is subject to wide police discretion. You may be charged with reckless driving for an offense as simple as driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit of a specific area or in excess of 80 miles per hour. A conviction of this type of offense can carry a penalty of jail time and loss of driving privileges.
Drunk driving is an extremely common offense, but it is also extremely dangerous. Driving impaired by alcohol can put you and drivers around you at serious risk of injury or even death. It’s important to realize that even if you are not tested at being over the legal limit of intoxication, which is indicated in all state as being a blood alcohol content of .08, you can still be arrested for a Driving Under the Influence or Driving while Intoxicated offense due to the wide police discretion that is allowed in these charges. A conviction for such a charge can lead to fines, suspension or loss of driver’s license, restricted driving privileges, compulsory high risk insurance programs and jail time. The risk of jail time increase with repeat offenses, and those that are convicted multiple times are at high risk of deportation.
It is critical that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a criminal offense associated with an auto accident. Deportation attorneys are trained to help you face your charges and avoid problems with your immigration case.