In August of 2012, the District of Columbia City Council amended the city’s DUI laws to include increased maximum penalties, increased mandatory minimums, and a whole host of other changes. One important change that’s not talked about a lot is the change to the city’s hit and run laws. Most people think if you are involved in an accident its okay just to leave a note with your information (if you hit a parked car by accident) or to exchange information on the scene.
DC’s current hit and run laws require when you are involved in an accident, you must not only stop and exchange information but also call the police and wait for the police to arrive on scene. That means if you stop and exchange information, that is not enough. You could exchange insurance information, leave the scene, and later be charged with leaving after colliding. Leaving after colliding is a misdemeanor traffic offense that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days and/or a $500.00 fine (if property damage occurs) or 180 days and/or a $1,000.00 fine (if personal injury occurs).
The Attorney General’s Office prosecutes DC leaving after colliding charges aggressively. If, as I have blogged about before, the OAG treats DUI’s like murder cases, leaving after colliding (or “LAC”) are their armed robberies. The OAG does not typically offer diversion in LAC cases although they will do under some limited circumstances.