Unknowingly hit a parked car and charged with leaving the scene...

by Ozman
(Siver Spring, MD, USA)

Half an hour after I left a parking lot I received a call from the police informing me that I scratched the rear right bumper of the car parked on my left side in the lot. I hadn't even realized I had made contact with the other car. I was charged with unsafe backing and failure to remain at the scene.

The other driver had made no sign or any effort to indicate an impact with his car. It seems, after I left the parking area, he called the police and put me in the position of leaving the scene.

The police report stated there was no injury and described the damage as "superficial." My Insurance covered the cost: $300 Material (paint) + $700 Labor. I'm now waiting for court date and time.

What are the possible consequences of the charge of leaving the scene of an accident that I did not realize I made? Will this go on my record? I'm worried. Will I need a lawyer? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Unknowingly hit a parked car and charged with leaving the scene...":

Ozman (Siver Spring, MD, USA):

In the State of Maryland, 'Leaving the Scene of an Accident' where property damage is involved is a misdemeanor offense, which carries a punishment of 60 days in jail.

Because of the possibility of jail time, you do need an attorney. If this is the first time you have been accused of committing a crime in Maryland, and have not been convicted of any other criminal offense in Maryland, you will likely receive a deferred probation type of sentence.

While you may not suffer a conviction, the deferred sentence will remain on your record, even when the case is eventually dismissed at the end of your probation. If though, you have prior criminal arrests or convictions, it is likely you may have to spend some time in jail.

Do not appear in court without an attorney. Seek legal advice at the earliest possible time. While you may believe the entire matter is minor, because of the possible conviction and jail time, you can be assured it is not.

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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