New Albany, IN asked in Traffic Tickets, Appeals / Appellate Law and Car Accidents for Indiana

Q: is hitting a dog reason for license suspension in Indiana?, I found out I was suspended for an accident i wasn't in

was suspended for an accident involving a dog I wasn't involved in or even knew of...i got 8 kids, i cant afford this , what do i do now pro se?

2 Lawyer Answers
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: In law, a dog is a chattel (an animal that constitutes property). If you leave the scene of an accident involving property damage and fail to contact either the owner of the property or law enforcement in Indiana, you commit Class B Misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months and/or driver's license suspension of up to 6 months.

The number of children you support is irrelevant. You knew that you were accused of the offense when you received the citation to appear in court. Your license is probably suspended because you failed to appear. That would also cause a Bench Warrant to issue for your arrest. By ignoring the citation, you are subject to immediate arrest and you have likely prejudiced the Court as it appears that you have been ignoring them. It is obvious that someone witnessed the accident and or the accident may have been captured on surveillance video. Absent that evidence, no citation would have issued, much less criminal charges.

If you were truly unaware that you hit a dog or you are absolutely certain that you did not hit a dog AND you never gave permission for anyone to drive your vehicle on the date of the accident, you should have appeared, initially, and provided that explanation to the Court. At this juncture, if I am correct, there is an active warrant for your arrest. It would be best for you to contact local criminal defense counsel to coordinate your surrender and thereby minimize the time that you are incarcerated. Otherwise, you may be incarcerated for up to 48 hours (or longer if you are arrested on a weekend) as you cannot bond out before you go in front of the Judge. You CANNOT go before the Judge until your paperwork is processed. There is no bond on a bench warrant.

Unless you can afford to miss work and potentially lose your job, I suggest that you consult local criminal defense counsel who practice before the traffic court where you were charged.

1 user found this answer helpful

Andrew L. Bennett
Andrew L. Bennett
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Valparaiso, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: Hitting a dog is not reason for a license suspension, however, leaving the scene of an accident will result in a license suspension. You will have to petition the court to have your license reinstated, but will need proof you were not involved in the accident.

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