Is it a crime if you run over carpet in the road and keep driving?

by A
(Michigan)

I was driving home from work and I noticed something large and flat in the road. I thought it was a large piece of cardboard or some garbage, so I didn't make a huge effort to avoid it. I ran over the corner of it, and realized it was carpeting.

I continued home, and a few minutes later saw someone drive past my house and take a picture of my car. I don't know exactly who the carpet belonged to, but I would be fine to repay them for any damage (although I don't think they should have had it in the middle of the street).

Is this considered a hit and run, since technically I "hit" the object (but circumstances hardly make it serious)? Would I be subject to any criminal penalties? Thanks for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Is it a crime if you run over carpet in the road and keep driving?":

A (Michigan):

Not to worry. We checked the law for you. Under the State of Michigan's Penal Code, Section 257 it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident involving another vehicle or person. Running over a carpet doesn't qualify as a criminal offense.

At most, if the carpet owner believes you negligently ran over her carpet, she might have the basis of a civil action to recover the costs of carpet repair or replacement. It's unlikely she would succeed in light of her contributory negligence in allowing the carpet to be in the road.

It's a good idea to forget about the issue and go about your life. If, in the event the carpet owner decides to file a civil action, she will have great difficulty finding an attorney to represent her. At most, the carpet owner might file a small claims action. Even if she does, it's likely she won't succeed in light of her negligence in leaving the carpet in the road.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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