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North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter(s) 20-166(a): Removal of Vehicle From Scene After Accident Resulting in Injury and/or Death to Any Person - Driver (Felony)
Under North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 20-166(a), the crime of removing a vehicle from the scene of an accident resulting in injury and/or death occurs when the Defendant intentionally removes a vehicle (which Defendant is the driver of) from the scene of an accident or collision that has resulted in injury or death.
To prove a charge of Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury or Death, the State must prove the following elements (beyond a reasonable doubt) to a judge or jury (depending on the procedural aspects of the case and Constitutional/Statutory considerations):
- That the Defendant was driving the vehicle that was involved in the accident or collision
- That the Defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the vehicle was involved in an accident or collision resulting in injury and/or death to any person
- That Defendant willfully facilitated, allowed and/or agreed to the removal of the vehicle of the scene of the accident without justification or excuse AND
- That a law enforcement officer had not completed an investigation of the accident or collision OR authorized the removal of the vehicle
“Willfully” is defined as the wrongful doing of an act without legal excuse or justification, or the commission of an act purposefully and deliberately in violation of law.
Defendant is driving home on a single lane road in Huntersville, N.C. where the posted speed limit is 55 mph. There is no place to legally pass. Defendant gets stuck behind an older couple going 25 mph. Their left turn signal remains blinking for no reason. Defendant “tailgates” the vehicle for approximately 10 miles before he loses his patience and swerves around the couple, crossing the double yellow center line. Once he passes, the Defendant slams on his brakes while making an obscene hand gesture, causing the older couple’s vehicle to leave the road and flip several times before crashing into a tree. The Defendant had been drinking, but likely did not consume enough alcohol for “drunk driving” charges in Charlotte. The top of the crashed car is completely caved in against the tree. Defendant stops his car for several minutes on the shoulder of the road then decides to leave the scene, knowing he could be charged with possession of marijuana (a Schedule 6 drug). His license is revoked by NC DMV for DWLR Impaired Revocation – Driving While License Revoked and a prior conviction for DUI in South Carolina. A farmer saw everything, including Defendant speeding off at a high rate of speed. The Farmer took down Defendant’s license plate and called 911 in Mecklenburg County. The old couple was killed in the accident, although the Defendant’s vehicle never touched the other car. Police arrest Defendant later that night. Defendant can be charged with Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury or Death.
An essential employee, Defendant is driving to work in Charlotte. Mecklenburg County has been under a stay at home order due to the coronavirus. A mob of Reopen NC protesters standing in the middle of the road outside the federal courthouse, illegally blocking the roadway. Defendant decides to scare the protesters and when he sees a chance to pass, drives his car as close as he can to the protesters. He hears as loud scream and thump as he drives past. He looks back to see one of the protesters writhing in severe pain in the street. Defendant doesn’t want to get arrested and drives off. Defendant can be charged with Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury or Death.3. Related Offenses
For other related offenses, please click the following links below:
- Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle in North Carolina
- Felony Death by Vehicle
- Misdemeanor Death by Vehicle
- Is Drunk Driving a Felony?
- False Accusations – Defenses to Allegedly Committing a Crime
- N.C.G.S. 20-166(a)
If the Defendant’s purpose for removing a vehicle was to call for law enforcement, medical treatment, or to remove himself or herself and/or others from the threat of/potential for significant risk of injury, Defendant may have valid defenses to criminal charges and may not properly be charged with Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury or Death.
If a law enforcement officer directed the Defendant to remove the vehicle from the scene of an accident or collision, Defendant charges for Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury or Death would be inappropriate.5. Penalties for Removal of Vehicle From Scene After an Accident Resulting in Injury or Death
The punishment for conviction of Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury Death is a Class F felony punishable by a maximum period of incarceration of 62 months in a state correctional facility.6. Criminal Defense for Removal of Vehicle From Scene After an Accident resulting in Injury or Death
If you have been charged with Removal of Vehicle from Scene after an Accident resulting in Injury or Death, you need to have legal representation immediately in order to protect your rights and liberties. This crime carries the potential for more than five years in state prison. Furthermore, this offense could possibly expose you to civil action which could result in you paying substantial monetary damages to injured party or the family of the person or persons who died in the accident.
At Powers Law Firm PA, we understand the complexities of cases such as this and can guide you through the legal process. We are zealous advocates with extensive trial experience who are willing to fight for you.
We strongly recommend you exercise your right to remain silent and to consult with a criminal attorney.
Call Bill Powers to schedule a free consultation 704-342-4357