I was charged with failure to give info after striking a motor vehicle, how serious is this? Is an attorney necessary?

Asked over 1 year ago - Gurnee, IL

My neighbor is a limo driver and I live in a townhouse complex. She had her limo parked outside and did not even think twice about looking behind me when I was backing up because 99/100 times, she doesn't have it parked there. I tapped it with my car, and "fled the scene". I wasn't going more than 5 MPH when I hit it and thought that the damage wasn't severe enough to notice. Apparently it was and she called the police and I was cited with "failure to give information after striking unattended vehicle. " She said she did not want to press charges but the officer said they HAD TO cite me with something. Should I be more concerned with the ticket or the tyrannical operations of modern day police NEEDING to write me up for something when the plaintiff did not even want to press charges?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    14

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    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . The action of the police officer was not tyrannical. He was doing his job. A police officer cannot pick and choose which legitimate citations to write. Look at it from the other side - What if your neighbor changed her mind and decided to sue you. Then she would have a good complaint against the officer and the deprartment if the officer refuse to write the ticket.

    If you go to court and your neighbor does not appear, there is about a 99.99% chance the ticket will be dismissed. If it is not, then ask for a continuance to get a lawyer. You will get it.

  2. Stephen Laurence Hoffman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    13

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Technically, you did "leave the scene of an accident." Drivers who are involved in an accident involving property damage without injury or death must provide information to the other driver(s). Failure to do so can result in a Class A misdemeanor charge. See 625 ILCS 5/11-402. The penalty for this offense is up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

    While your situation is seemingly a small thing, keep in mind, if everyone who "dinged" another car just drove off, we'd have a lot of angry people with damaged cars. The courteous thing (as well as the legal thing) to do is provide insurance information, even if it's left on the windshield.

    Incidentally, your neighbor sounds like a jerk if he called the police about this rather than calling you directly. Seems like there are bigger problems in the world!

    In reality, this should not be that big of a deal. What you should do is talk to the limo owner, provide him with your insurance information, report it to your insurance company, and this should satisfy him.

    As to your court date, you could go out and get an attorney, but that costs money. You may want to show up the first time with all the paperwork showing you provided insurance information to your neighbor, plus any correspondence between your carrier and his or him directly. Photographs of the damage (if it's as minor as you say it is) may also get the judge to give you an easier time.

    It is possible, your ticket may be dismissed if the witness (your neighbor) fails to show up--as he indicated he did not want to press charges. It is possible, the judge may fine you a small amount, but I doubt this will happen if the witness does not appear. Just talk to the prosecutor before court begins and explain your story and see if they are willing to listen. They may wish to drop this if the witness doesn't show. I can't tell you this WILL happen, but it is the likely outcome.

    Stephen L. Hoffman
    Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
    Chicago, IL
    773-944-9737
    Email: stephen@hofflawyer.com
    Website: www.hofflawyer.com
    Blog: www.hofflawyer.com/blog/

    This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client... more
  3. Steven Charles Giacoletto

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    12

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get a lawyer to help you with that ticket. You don't want it to to spiral out of hand. At worst, you want court supervision on it.
    As to the officer, he didn't HAVE to right you ticket; he could have exercised judgment and not done so. But I can envision where he doesn't write you a ticket and then the lady has an issue with getting her car fixed and then the next thing you know the officer has to explain to his supervisor why he didn't write you up.
    Some officers might not have, but I'm not suprised he did.

  4. Joseph Younes

    Contributor Level 14

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hire an attoreny.

  5. Michael Lynn Walker

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I concur with the answers my colleague's provided. Consult with an attorney.

    Mike Walker
    www.walkerlawgroup.net

  6. Gary A Kester

    Contributor Level 17

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You hit a car. You knew that you hit a car. You left because you thought the damages were not "severe". You didnt bother to give your information. I believe the police were correct in giving you a citaction. Your neighbor does not get to ask the police to enforce the law, the police are required to.

    When you talk about tyranny; your actions more closely resemble tyranny than anyone elses. You damaged someone elses property and then left without payment, apology or notification, as if you were King and the property was your own. Sorry, good luck.

    I am an Arizona attorney. AVVO does not pay us for our responses. Simply because I responded to your question... more
  7. Bret A. Schnitzer

    Contributor Level 16

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should retain an attorney at once.

    You should consult an attorney in your State at once. This response does not constitute legal advise outside the... more
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