Leaving the Scene of Property Damage Only

Utah Code Title 41, Part 4 describes a driver’s responsibilities after a car accident or crash. Under U.C.A. 1953 § 41-6a-401, for any accident involving property damage, the driver and passenger have certain duties to stop and remain at the scene long enough to exchange information and notify law enforcement. 

If the accident resulted in property damage of $1,500 or more, then the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident shall immediately and by the quickest means of communication available give notice or cause to give notice of the traffic crash to the nearest office of a law enforcement agency. Most of these cases involve hitting a parked vehicle, an occupied vehicle, or property near the roadside such as a fence or gate. 

A violation of any subsection of § 41-6a-401 for leaving the scene of a crash involving damage to attended or unattended property is a class C misdemeanor. 

Attorney for Leaving the Scene Involving Property Damage in Salt Lake City, Utah

If you left the scene of a crash or accident, then you should remain at the scene until you have fulfilled your reporting requirements. If you left the place where the accident occurred then a criminal investigation has begun. If any witness to the crash can describe you, your vehicle or the vehicle's license plate number, then an officer is likely to go after the owner of the vehicle. 

The officer's goal is to interrogate the owner of the vehicle and get a confession to prove who was driving at the time of the crash. An attorney can contact the law enforcement officer on your behalf to help you invoke your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney represent you at every stage of the case.

The penalties for leaving the scene of a traffic crash (often called "hit and run") are serious and unforgiving. After the criminal investigation begins, never make a statement to law enforcement until after you have retained an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you are every stage of the case. 

The attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP are experienced in representing men and women under investigation for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage under § 41-6a-401. We also represent clients for more serious charges of leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury or serious bodily injury. Call (801) 532-5297 today to talk with an attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah. 


Utah Code § 41-6a-401 for Leaving the Scene

Under § 41-6a-401, the driver of a vehicle who has reason to believe that he or she may have been involved in an accident resulting only in damage to another vehicle or other property:

  1. may move the vehicle as soon as possible off the roadway or freeway main lanes, shoulders, medians, or adjacent areas to the nearest safe location on an exit ramp shoulder, a frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or other suitable location that does not obstruct traffic; and
  2. shall remain at the scene of the accident or the location described in Subsection (2)(a)(i) until the operator has fulfilled the requirements of this section.

The term “reason to believe” means information from which a reasonable person would believe that the person may have been involved in an accident.


Accidents Involving Damage to Attended Property

When the owner of the damaged property is present, the property is considered “attended property.” After a crash involving property damage, the driver must give to the persons involved:

  1. the operator's name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle being operated; and
  2. the name of the insurance provider covering the vehicle being operated including the phone number of the agent or provider; and
  3. upon request and if available, exhibit the operator's license to:
    • any investigating peace officer present;
    • the operator, occupant of, or person attending the vehicle or other property damaged in the accident; and
    • the owner of property damaged in the accident, if present.

Traffic Accidents Involving Unattended Property

If a driver is involved in a crash with unattended property, then Utah law requires the driver to do the following:

  1. locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or the owner of other property damaged in the accident of the driver's name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle causing the damage; or
  2. attach securely in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property a written notice giving the operator's name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle causing the damage.

The driver can also provide the information required under this section to an investigating peace officer at the scene of the accident. 


Additional Resources 

Hit and Run Investigations by the Salt Lake City Police Department - Visit the website of the Salt Lake City Police Department to learn more about what you should do if you are the victim of a hit and run crash. If you have information that can be used to identify the suspect or got a license plate number, then law enforcement officers will take the information from you. If you do not have suspect information, then the police officers will ask you to complete an online citizen police report powered by Coplogic’s Online Police Reporting system.


Finding an Attorney for Hit and Run with Property Damage Only in Salt Lake City, Utah

If you were cited or arrested for a violation of any subsection of § 41-6a-401 for leaving the scene of a crash involving damage to attended or unattended property, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. We are experienced in fighting criminal charges for this class C misdemeanor.

Call (801) 532-5297 today to discuss your case. We can begin your defense today.