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Why you should never leave an accident scene in South Dakota

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2019 | Firm News |

Whether you are a resident of South Dakota or are simply on vacation, you must drive carefully on the state’s roadways. With a bit of care, you can likely increase your chances of avoiding an automobile collision. Eventually, though, you may find yourself in the middle of a car crash. 

Like most states, South Dakota has a law that prevents motorists from leaving the scene of an accident. Collisions can be both stressful and frightening. Still, how you behave after a car wreck is important. Here are some things you should know about leaving an accident scene in South Dakota. 

Your obligations as a motorist 

In South Dakota, whether you have to stop after an accident depends on damage and injuries. If there is property damage, you must stop your vehicle and provide specific information: 

  •         Your name
  •         The car owner’s name
  •         Your address
  •         The car owner’s address 

Accidents involving unoccupied vehicles occur all the time. If you swap paint with a parked vehicle, you must leave the above information on the vehicle for the owner of the other car to find. Further, if you damage non-vehicle property, you must leave your information at the accident scene. If you prefer, you can also report the incident to the police and leave your information with an officer. 

A violation is criminal 

No one wants to have a criminal record. If you violate South Dakota’s requirement to provide information after an accident, though, you could end up with a rap sheet. In fact, a violation of this provision of law is a misdemeanor. Remember, a criminal conviction may have collateral consequences. As such, if possible, you likely want to do what you can to assert your legal rights and avoid a misdemeanor conviction altogether. 

As a careful driver, you may never have to worry about having an accident on South Dakota’s roadways. If you collide with another vehicle or cause damage to property, though, you must act diligently to avoid criminal charges.