Q: I was involved in a minor rear end accident, I was at fault. It was at a stop sign and I was three cars back.
I took my eyes of the road and rearended the auto in front of me. I was barely moving, minimal damage. (I had no insurance at this time) I took out my registration, drivers license and business card to give to the driver. She would not roll down her window. She did nod to say she was ok. She said through the window she was calling her finance. She would not take my information. A little bit later her fiance showed up, again I tried to give information and admitted to be at fault. He looked at my registration and license, gave it back and said he was calling the St Patrol. Again, I got in my car and waited. After a little bit I tried again with info, and finally drove of with the intent to report the accident as required in WA St. What ya think I've been charged with hit and run. WA State 46.52.020.2A. The State Patrol contacted me that evening and said he would be filing the report. I am reading that I met all the requirements of this RCW or WAC.
Did you call in and report the accident between when you left the scene and when the officer called you in the evening? If not, why not? By not doing so, you committed hit and run. The policy behind the law is if someone in one vehicle is injured, someone in the other vehicle should summon help. A second reason is that someone driving under the influence may leave the scene to buy time to sober up in an attempt to avoid a DUI.
No matter that the OP said that they were calling the State Patrol (Twice), you should have done so yourself, or waited for them to show up. (There may be a slow response time to a non-injury accident) From the scene if you had a cell phone. If not, as soon as you reached anywhere with a phone.
So, you have been told that you will be charged with Hit and Run Attended(someone in the other vehicle), A gross misdemeanor (criminal charge) with up to 364 days in jail and $5000 fine. Understand that it is serious, and you may come out of it with a criminal record. Your best course is to hire an attorney. They may find a way to challenge your charge outright, and if not, they have skill and experience in negotiating a result that has the least impact on you. Talk to attorneys local to the court where your ticket will be heard. If in Yakima, then Yakima/Clu Elum/Ellensberg are. Somewhere near Seattle, then from somewhere near Seattle.
You will get a court date notice in the mail. Make sure that your address with DOL is current. If you get nothing in a few weeks, call the court and ask. If you miss your court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
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