Cited for failure to report an accident and leaving scene of accident, what can I do?
I hit a concrete pole in a parking lot knocking out my headlight (and somehow my brakelights stopped working), no damage to the pole. Driving home I was stopped and cited for "leaving scene after striking unattended property/vehicle" and "failing to report an accident to police." Is this really defined as an accident? What can/should I do?
Colorado statute 42-4-1602 requires one to remain at the scene of an accident that invovled property damage until all necessary information is provided. It also allows one to leave the scene if they return shortly thereafter, depending on where the accident was. While this seems like a serious offense, given the points involved, etc., often the prosecutor will resolve the case by offering a plea to a different charge - can I assume you may also have been charged with careless driving for having the accident in the first place? You certainly will be required to pay for any damage to any other property as a part of any plea agreement.
Colliding with another person's property with your motor vehicle constitutes an accident. The reason behind this is to avoid having people causing damages to the property of another without reporting it. If you were not required to report the damages to a pole that you hit with your car the state would not know who the culpable person is that damaged the property. In this case, the pole is owned by the city or the owner of the parking lot. The owner has a right to know who caused the damage so that it can properly seek compensation. I suggest that you plead not guilty to the ticket and obtain a copy of your insurance policy to show the state's attorney that you are insured and therefore, the owner of the lot is able to obtain compensation for any damages caused to the pole, if any. The state will likely drop the case. If you can afford an auto accident lawyer in Colorado, I suggest you hire one.