When you get behind the wheel nearly every day, it’s easy to forget how dangerous it can be. Not only could you find yourself in an accident, you could also find yourself in trouble with the law.
It’s important to be skilled behind the wheel, but it’s also important to know some of the other ways you could find yourself in trouble as the owner of a vehicle. Here are a few to be aware of, as well as what to do if you’re faced with one of these troubling situations.
Hit and Run
Hit and runs aren’t that uncommon. Fortunately, most of the time, the offense isn’t that bad. It isn’t that surprising to discover that someone backed up and left a small scratch on your car, but they didn’t leave their personal information.
It can be more difficult to determine exactly what you should do if you’re in an accident and the other person involved drives away.
No matter what the situation, gather as much information at the scene as you can. If you are able to see the car, write down the license plate number, or at least pay attention to the make, model, and color of the vehicle.
Report serious offenses to the authorities, as surveillance cameras may be able to identify the perpetrator. You may also want to consider hiring an attorney who can help you find the offender so you can face them in court.
If your car is stolen, you should report the crime immediately, as grand theft auto is a serious criminal offense. However, it’s not just your car that thieves can steal.
Some thieves are more interested in what’s inside your car—not the car itself.
From car chargers to electronics, sound systems, and even parts under the hood, there are many things thieves can cash in on without actually stealing your vehicle.
Thefts should be reported to the police, and you should also look into your insurance policies. Although car insurance will not cover the theft of personal items left in your vehicle, other policies might. For example, a cell phone replacement policy can replace your cell phone, and items stolen that are explicitly stated on your homeowner’s policy may also be covered.
Speeding can affect you seriously if you’re hit by another car, but it can affect you seriously if you’re the one speeding too. Average speeding will result in a ticket, which isn’t a crime, but speeding can turn into a criminal offense if it’s bad enough.
For example, in California, you could get a ticket for speeding just a few miles an hour over the speed limit, but if you are going over 100 miles an hour over the limit, you could find yourself in some real trouble. Charges are even more severe if you have at least one prior conviction.
Speeding can also be considered reckless driving, which can come with some serious charges. If you’re caught speeding, you may have to plead guilty and deal with the consequences, but you may also be able to negotiate your fine in court, and a lawyer may be able to help you receive traffic school to avoid receiving points on your record.
Driving Without Insurance
Never drive without insurance! If you do, you could face consequences that include:
- A fine
- A suspended driver’s license
- Impounding your vehicle
- Going to jail
- Liability for damage and injuries
It’s not a good idea to get stuck driving without proof of insurance either, but if you are pulled over and receive punishment, you may be able to dispute it in court by proving you have insurance, even if you couldn’t prove it when you were pulled over.
DUI and DWI
You know you shouldn’t drink and drive, but do you know the difference between a DUI and a DWI? Did you know you can also receive an OWI, and OUI, or a DWAI instead?
The differences exist because it’s not just driving while drinking that can get you in trouble. Doing any kind of drugs while driving, even if they’re legal, can land you in trouble. Operating any vehicle—not just a car—while under the influence can get you into trouble too! Hiring an attorney is the best way to get through it, whether you’re guilty or not.
Don’t find yourself in trouble because of one of these car crimes! If you do, hopefully the tips in this list will help you get through it.