If you’ve been in a wreck, you have to stop.
It may have been only a minor bump-up. Maybe the accident it involved only you and a traffic sign; but, in North Carolina, the law often requires motorists to stop, exchange information in appropriate circumstances, and in some instances, report the accident to local law enforcement.
Failure to Report is normally related to and indeed may be an euphemism for something more accurately described as Hit and Run.
Sometimes “Failing to Report” is something serious. . .things that carry long-term consequences.
It may include VERY serious matters than might involve things like Failing to Report the Disappearance of a person. There are also Criminal charges associated with Failing to Report to Law Enforcement as a Registered Sex Offender.
If you or a loved one is dealing with those kind of charges, probably the best thing to do is stop reading and call a lawyer immediately.
This particular webpage is dealing with TRAFFIC issues, which also can be, in some circumstances, criminal offenses.
What’s Generally Required?
- Stop Your Vehicle
- At the Scene of the Crash
- Remain with Vehicle
- Stay Until Told OK to Leave by Law Enforcement
There is one Important Exception, where remaining at the scene places the driver or others at significant risk of injury – Bill Powers
What Does Exchanging Information Mean? How Do I Do That?
- This is NOT Optional
- You are REQUIRED to Provide:
- Drivers License Number
- License Plate Number
- You are ALSO REQUIRED to:
- Render Reasonable Assistance
- Including Calling for Medical Assistance
What if I Hit a Parked Car, Ran Over a Sign, or Only Damaged by Own Vehicle?
Put simply, you don’t get free pass just because no one is around to talk to. You have the legal duty and obligation to take affirmative steps to provide information.
That may also include:
- Flagging Down “nearest available peace officer”
- Leaving a Note
- Sending a Letter to the Department of Transportation / Division of Motor Vehicles
If the damaged property is a guardrail, utility pole, or other fixed object owned by the Department of Transportation, a public utility, or other public service corporation to which report cannot readily be made at the scene, it shall be sufficient if the responsible driver shall furnish the information required to the nearest peace officer or make written report thereof containing the information by U.S. certified mail, return receipt requested, to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles within five days following the collision – Bill Powers
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Put simply, if nothing else, because Lawyers provide information, guidance, and can help you understand the best-case and worst-case-scenarios.
In reviewing the materials we have provided on the subject, hopefully you have come to see that “Failure to Report” can actually related to several different things depending on the circumstances.
Such allegations can result in some pretty serious charges.
You may be thinking, “Big Deal, What’s So Bad About a Class 1 Misdemeanor?”
What you may not realize is that a Class 1 is not the first or lowest class. It’s actually a pretty serious Misdemeanor that carries a maximum active sentence of 120 days of incarceration.
The lowest class is actually a Class 3 Misdemeanor, which with a 20 day maximum active term, can still be pretty serious.
That’s EXACTLY why talking to a lawyer makes sense. You or a loved one may not realize how the legal system actually works.
Sometimes people confuse how things should work, assuming it is always fair and equitable, with how the Courts and Criminal Justice system actually operate.
It is not always fair. It does not always make sense.
The Legal System in North Carolina is often complicated. Resolution of legal matters can take time. . .a lot of time.
In our world of instant gratification, especially in the provision of goods and services on-line, people seem to think the Courts should operate that way too.
Maybe that’s true; but, in reality, there is little in legal system that is convenient or fast.
At Powers McCartan, PLLC we are more than willing to sit down with you and explain the legal system.
- We’re not a high-pressure law firm
- We will take the time to review the facts of your case
- We will want to ask you a lot of questions
- We will refer to laws, statutes, and legal precedent
- We will explain your options
- We will tell you exactly how much we think it will cost to help
We explain the law to people, not defend it. Indeed, we often agree the laws are not always as they should be. Lawyers look for solutions when clients need help – Bill Powers
It’s our sincere hope that in providing a Complementary Consultation people will feel free to call and ask questions. If you desire to go another way or handle the matter yourself, that’s OK too.
We want to help people. That’s why our telephone number is:
Modified Transcript of “Failure to Report” for the Hearing Impaired
Hey this is Bill Powers, and I appreciate you checking our website. This particular page is entitled failure to report. It’s in the traffic section of our website but it may actually apply to a misdemeanor, or a felony. That’s not related to traffic at all. If your case involves a traffic type of issue, a wreck, a ticket, you’re on the right page. If this is something involving like, “I didn’t report to probation, or I didn’t report myself to the sheriff as a sex offender,” go to the other page because this page doesn’t apply to you but in a traffic law venue, what were talking about are things like, “I got in a wreck, I didn’t report it to my insurance carrier, or I didn’t call the police.”
Now, I don’t call failure to report, sometimes clients do, sometimes the law enforcement does, so that’s why we have a page for it. What were really talking about in most instances is more akin to hit and run. People say, “Oh, I didn’t hit and run that sounds so serious”. Well, if you got a bump up with another vehicle, and you don’t want to pay for it, maybe you don’t insurance maybe you didn’t have a valid license … Maybe you don’t have the time to stop. If you don’t stop and render assistance or report this to the police, we see those and those types of instances, we also see it where it’s a single car collision. Going down the road, North Carolina has a lot of country roads. Maybe there’s no fog line, there’s no lights, deer runs out in front of you, you hit a curve, you knock over a sign. Then, you just drive away.
That sign, that the department of transportation put up the cost, some ungodly amount of money. You didn’t tell anybody about that and you didn’t report that collision, we see those as well. I kind of get why DMV gets ornery about that, partially because as a motorist I want to know what the speed limit is, I want to know what the signs are, and two they are just safety issues. Three, as a tax payer, well gracious. If you knocked over a sign, just fess up and pay for it. I mean that’s what insurance is for. We see these cases also where it’s actually something much, much more serious. Sometimes law enforcement takes it really personally because they think something else really, really bad has happened, but you got away, and you haven’t reported this because maybe you were impaired, or you didn’t report this because there was something else in your car that shouldn’t have been, and they just sink their teeth into it saying we ain’t giving up on this.
Give us a ring. I think its important on these types of cases to stress what you tell us is confidential. That means we can’t share it. We see these on hit and run cases, which are just plaguing our system right now. Where it’s not just hitting a car, or someone gets killed or someone is seriously injured, and most times our clients say, “Ah, Bill I just freaked out, or I didn’t know I hit something”. Sometimes they say, “I would have been charged with murder because I have a prior [inaudible 01:09:26], I was drunk again. That’s why its important to understand that there is a level of confidentiality. We don’t charge to talk with us, the initial consultation. We’re more willing to have you come into the office, and we will tell you what we think we can do.
Wow, as you can see, sometimes it’s just knocked over a sign and didn’t tell somebody. Heck, I saw someone hit my car one time, and they act like they are writing me a note and I said, “Sorry, I hit your car, I don’t have insurance,” they made it look like they were leaving insurance information. They didn’t report the accident. Then we see another instance where they’re trying to avoid a rather serious felony. 704-342-HELP and a rather serious felony. 704-342-HELP and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for checking out our website.