In her latest skirmish with the authorities, Lindsay Lohan was arrested this past week by the NYPD and charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident pursuant to Section 600 of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law. Jose Rodriguez, a Jersey City resident and restaurant worker, alleges that Lohan clipped him with her Porsche while driving outside a New York City club at the Dream Hotel. Rodriguez informed police that after Lohan struck him with her car, she drove off without stopping and reporting the accident to police.
There is footage of the accident, which is of poor quality, that appears to show some contact between Lohan and a pedestrian, who then chases after Lohan’s Porsche as it drives away. Mr. Rodriguez claims that he suffered a knee injury due to the accident.
Under this section of the Vehicle & Traffic Law, if a person operates a motor vehicle “knowing or having reason to know” that personal injury has been caused to another person, they are required, before “leaving the place where the said personal injury occurred”, to “stop, exhibit his or her license and insurance identification card for such vehicle, and give his or her name, residence, insurance information to the injured party, if practical, and also to a police officer.”
The District Attorney is likely to offer Lohan a plea deal to a violation. The reason for this is that leaving the scene charges can be difficult to prove—did Lohan really know, or “have reason to know”, that she struck Mr. Rodriguez with her car? It is not easy to prove that someone had “reason to know” in a scenario in which there may have been glancing contact between the car and Mr. Rodriguez. Recently, in a much more serious case in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, postal worker Ian Clement was found not guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal accident involving Marilyn Dershowitz, who either fell under or was struck by Clement’s truck and died at the scene. Clement claimed that he never knew that he had been in the fatal accident with Ms. Dershowitz and left the scene without reporting the accident. Even with evidence that bystanders were honking their horns and screaming at Clement to stop, he drove away from the scene. On September 20, 2012, the jury found Mr. Clement not guilty of the charge.
Ms. Lohan was released on her own recognizance and issued a desk appearance ticket. If Lohan is found guilty of the charge against her, which is a Class B misdemeanor, she is facing fines of between $250 and $500.00 and potential jail time, which is very unlikely to be imposed due the apparent limited injuries suffered by Mr. Rodriguez.
If you are charged with a crime or a traffic infraction, you need an attorney who can properly advise you as to all of your legal options, and obtain the best possible outcome as expeditiously as possible. Contact The Westchester County Criminal Defense Attorneys online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel if you have been charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or traffic infraction for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the charges that have been brought against you, your legal rights and options in detail.