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South Carolina Code Annotated 56-5-1220: Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Property Damage to Attended Vehicles

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Leaving the Scene of an Accident Leaving the Scene of an Accident (also referred to as “Hit and Run”) under South Carolina Criminal Law 56-5-1220 is a misdemeanor criminal offense characterized by the defendant being involved in an accident with an occupied vehicle that results in property damage and then leaving the scene.

In order to prove that a Defendant committed this offense, the Solicitor (or “prosecutor”) must establish each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Leaving the Scene of an Accident with property damage to attended vehicles generally include the following:

  1. The Defendant was driving a vehicle
  2. That was involved in a car accident
  3. The other vehicle involved was occupied by a person
  4. Only property damage occurred as a result of the accident

It is important to note, that leaving the scene temporarily is permitted but only for the purposes of contacting authorities. Otherwise, leaving the scene of an accident is not permitted until you have met the requirements established in South Carolina Criminal Law 56-5-1230.

After an accident occurs, South Carolina Law requires you to do the following:

  1. Stop your vehicle at or as close to the scene as possible
  2. Provide the other driver with your name, address, registration number (and driver’s license number, if requested)
  3. Render aid to any injured person which may include calling 911 for assistance
2. Examples of Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage to Attended Vehicles

The Defendant is leaving Baxter Village after meeting friends for dinner in Fort Mill. The Defendant side swipes the side of a parked car outside of McAlister’s Deli on Market Street. The Defendant sees the back bumper of the other car is damaged and that there is a person sitting in the passenger seat. The Defendant decides to keep going because it’s late at night. The Defendant may be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage only, a Misdemeanor Offense.

The Defendant is driving home through Tega Cay and approaches a stop light. The Defendant hits the car in front of him that was stopped at the red light. The Defendant exits his car to ensure no one in the other vehicle was hurt and sees there is only minor damage to the other car. The Defendant gives the other driver his phone number and leaves. The other driver calls Tega Cay Police Department to report the accident. The Defendant may be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage only, a Misdemeanor Offense.

The Defendant is moving out of his home in Rock Hill and is throwing away unwanted items. After emptying his truck at a dumpster, the Defendant backs into another vehicle. The other driver gets out to see if there is damage. After speaking with the other driver, it is determined there is no damage to either vehicle. Just in case, both the Defendant and the other driver exchange information, including driver license information. Prior to speaking to the Defendant, the other driver at first dialed 911 and then hung up without talking to anyone. Thinking everything is OK, the Defendant drives off. The Defendant likely has defenses to criminal charges as he has complied with South Carolina Code of Laws Title 56 – Motor Vehicles – Chapter 5 – Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on HIghways, Section 56-5-1230.

South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 56 - Motor Vehicles
Chapter 5 - UNIFORM ACT REGULATING TRAFFIC ON HIGHWAYS
3. Related Offenses

Other related crimes offenses include:

  1. South Carolina Code Annotated 16-11-330: Robbery and Attempted Robbery While Armed with a Deadly Weapon (Felony)
  2. South Carolina Code Annotated 16-17-530: Public Disorderly Conduct (Misdemeanor)
  3. South Carolina Code Annotated 56-5-2930: Operating Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
  4. South Carolina Code Annotated 56-5-2945: Felony Driving Under the Influence (Felony DUI)
  5. South Carolina Code Ann. 56-5-1220: Accident Resulting in Damage to Attended Vehicles
  6. South Carolina Code Ann. 56-5-1230: Duty to Give Information and Render Aid
4. Defenses to Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage to Attended Vehicles

Leaving the Scene of an Accident A Defendant can challenge the elements of crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage to Attended Vehicles by proving that he/she was not operating the vehicle involved in the accident, that property damage did not occur, that the vehicle was not attended, or that the he/she complied with the requirements of SC Code § 56-5-1230.

5. Penalties

Under South Carolina Code 56-5-1220: Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage to Attended Vehicles is a Misdemeanor offense. If convicted, you could face jail time, fines, or both. This offense carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine ranging from $100 up to $5,000.

6. Criminal Defense for Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage to Attended Vehicles

If you have been charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage to Attended Vehicles in South Carolina, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney Chris Beddow is solely responsible for all South Carolina cases at the Powers Law Firm PA as well as all website content regarding South Carolina legal matters.

Powers Law Firm PA offers free consultations for criminal cases in Upstate South Carolina including Lancaster County and York County.

CALL NOW: 803-504-6686

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