Calling police after leaving car accident scene

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Yesterday while I was helping a friend of mine to move out with a rented van, I accidentally scratched a parked car while leaving. Tbh I heard a light sound but I thought it was just a piece of snow under the wheels, so I just moved on without stopping. Later on we came back to collect some more stuff and I noticed that I actually bumped this bmw. So I decided to wait for the owner of the car to show up (since we were still collecting some other furnitures inside the van) so we could  solve the issue together. 

 

In the mean time a grumpy old German guy comes out and says that he saw everything and denounced the case to the police as a hit and run case. We had some sort of verbal fight, mostly originating from language barriers, and he asked me  to leave my data on the scratched car (which I would have done anyway in case the car owner wouldnt have shown up before we left) and to him (this sounded weird to me but I gave my contacts also to grumpy old man since I was confused by the whole situation and I didn't want to aggravate my position). 

 

Eventually, I decided to call the police just to be sure that everything was 100% regular. They came (around 1 hour after the accident) , asked for documents, evaluated the very small damage (which was only received by the parked car) and left, telling me that I would have received a letter in few weeks. They were pretty nice and friendly the whole time, but didn't give me any specific guidance or anything. Just told me to wait for this letter. 

 

Now, what should I expect? What will I receive from the police in few weeks? Do I have to be prepared to receive a charge of hit and run even though I called the cops (but after I left the scene and then returned back)? Should I start to look for a lawyer?? 

 

Thank you in advance for your answers. 

 

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You reported it to the police when you came to know about it , so why would you expect a hit and run case ?.

I think your rental company will contact you for some co-pay depending on your insurance with them

 

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Good on you for taking responsibility for the accident.  Of course, that’s your responsibility, but also a good idea because Germany is filled with old coots like the guy you ran into who take their duty as a citizen seriously when it is easy to do so. 

 

The big issue here is whether or not the police might consider this a hit and run.  If they do, and if the Staatsanwalt does, it’s a big problem for you and you need a lawyer.  But for now you don’t need a lawyer.  Just don’t talk to the police any further. 

 

Note:  I am not a Rechtsanwalt and this is not legal advice. 

 

On the one hand, you left the scene immediately after the incident and before you returned the old coot had already called it in as a hit and run.  On the other hand, you contacted the police shortly after the incident and were at the scene. 

 

 

Sec. 34 of StVO says any driver involved in an Unfall must wait at the “Unfallort” to share info with other driver, ODER “eine nach den Umständen angemessene Zeit zu wartenund am Unfallort den eigenen Namen und die eigene Anschrift zu hinterlassen, wenn niemand bereit war, die Feststellung zu treffen,“ and then „nach Ablauf der Wartefrist“  „einer nahe gelegenen Polizeidienststelle mitzuteilen, dass man am Unfall beteiligt gewesen ist“     „und die eigene Anschrift, den Aufenthalt sowie das Kennzeichen und den Standort des beteiligten Fahrzeugs anzugeben und dieses zu unverzüglichen Feststellungen für eine zumutbare Zeit zur Verfügung zu halten“ 

 

 

 

The Strafgesetz is like the StVO.    It is Fahrerflucht if driver didn’t wait long enough (whatever that means, depends on circumstances…).  The driver’s Pflicht is:   

 

    • (3) Der Verpflichtung, die Feststellungen nachträglich zu ermöglichen, genügt der Unfallbeteiligte, wenn er den Berechtigten (Absatz 1 Nr. 1) oder einer nahe gelegenen Polizeidienststelle mitteilt, daß er an dem Unfall beteiligt gewesen ist, und wenn er seine Anschrift, seinen Aufenthalt sowie das Kennzeichen und den Standort seines Fahrzeugs angibt und dieses zu unverzüglichen Feststellungen für eine ihm zumutbare Zeit zur Verfügung hält. Dies gilt nicht, wenn er durch sein Verhalten die Feststellungen absichtlich vereitelt. 

       

§ 142 StGB - Unerlaubtes Entfernen vom Unfallort      https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/__142.html

 

As to the Strafgesetz on Fahrrerflucht,  there is an “out” for reporting it in 24 hours IF the accident was NOT in moving traffic, z.B.. bumps in a parking lot, AND IF the damage is minor. 

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check out the Strafgesetz in English:

https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/index.html

Section 142
Leaving scene of accident

(1) Parties to a road traffic accident who leave the scene of the accident before

1.  having facilitated, on behalf of the other parties to the accident and any persons suffering injury or harm, the determination of their identity, of their vehicle and the nature of their involvement through their presence and by stating that they were involved in the accident or

2.  having waited for an appropriate period of time under the circumstances during which no one was willing to make such determinations

incur a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or a fine.

(2) Parties to an accident who leave the scene of the accident

1.  after the end of the waiting period (subsection (1) no. 2) or

2.  justifiably or excusably

but subsequently do not promptly make such determinations possible also incur the penalty under subsection (1).

(3) Parties to an accident satisfy the obligation to subsequently make the determinations possible if they inform the persons entitled to receive such information (subsection (1) no. 1) or a nearby police station that they were involved in the accident and if they state their address and whereabouts as well as the licence plate number and location of their vehicle and make it available for prompt examination for a reasonable period. This does not apply if they intentionally obstruct these determinations by their conduct.

(4) The court mitigates the penalty (section 49 (1)) in the cases under subsections (1) and (2) or may dispense with imposing a penalty pursuant to these provisions if the parties to the accident voluntarily make the determinations possible (subsection (3)) within 24 hours after an accident which did not take place in flowing traffic and which resulted in merely minor property damage.

(5) A party to an accident is deemed to be anyone whose conduct, under the circumstances, may have contributed to causing the accident.

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As in all situations when the police want to talk to you, your duty is limited regarding the information you have to give the police. 

You are not required to testify against yourself.  That means you don't have to give them hardly any information.  Watch this guy (in German) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctsXfSv1tes  from about 01:15 to 04:30.    Watch this American on same concept https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE   at about 19:23 to 25:05.

In a traffic accident situation you have to give the police 4 bits of info.  Your official address, where they can currently find you, your vehicle’s license info, and let them inspect your vehicle.  You don’t have to say where you were coming from or going to. 

You don’t have to say whether you left the scene or not and why you came back.  If you already told the Polizei you left the scene, then that’s already out there.  All you can do now is wait and see if anything develops that you have to deal with. 

If the police invite you to come in and speak with them.  Don’t.  Get a Fachanwalt for Verkehrsrecht and get some advice, likely you’ll be told by your Rechtsanwalt not to talk to the police.   

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On 2/17/2021, 2:59:24, Prmdix said:

the police ... came . They were pretty nice and friendly the whole time,

 

Better than dealing with grumpy, mean police; but no indicator of what might develop.

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4 hours ago, DoubleDTown said:

As in all situations when the police want to talk to you, your duty is limited regarding the information you have to give the police. 

 

You are not required to testify against yourself.  That means you don't have to give them hardly any information.  Watch this guy (in German) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctsXfSv1tes  from about 01:15 to 04:30.    Watch this American on same concept https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE   at about 19:23 to 25:05.

 

In a traffic accident situation you have to give the police 4 bits of info.  Your official address, where they can currently find you, your vehicle’s license info, and let them inspect your vehicle.  You don’t have to say where you were coming from or going to. 

 

You don’t have to say whether you left the scene or not and why you came back.  If you already told the Polizei you left the scene, then that’s already out there.  All you can do now is wait and see if anything develops that you have to deal with. 

 

If the police invite you to come in and speak with them.  Don’t.  Get a Fachanwalt for Verkehrsrecht and get some advice, likely you’ll be told by your Rechtsanwalt not to talk to the police.   

 

Im a Legal naive so please excuse my ignorance . what can go wrong if one talk to the police directly without a lawyer. 

Why would one need a lawyer unless he is ina situation to interpret legal stuff

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6 minutes ago, jubinjohn said:

what can go wrong if one talk to the police directly without a lawyer.

Dude, don't you watch any movies?

 

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney."

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Soon after my arrival here I broke someone's wing mirror while parking. Nobody in the vicinity saw but I asked a couple of people and in the adjacent shops if they knew the owner. Noone did so I innocently left my details under the wipers. Came back an hour later after shopping and saw the police round the car so I

said here I am guv and they politely explained the law. "Fahrerflucht" sounds really dramatic and I was worried but I'm sure I just paid a small fine and of course to repair the damage. No further dramatics or lawyer involvement.

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51 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

Dude, don't you watch any movies?

 

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney."

You have watched the movies! American movies or maybe British movies!  

But there's a whole world out there and they don't care or know...😪

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I can't understand why these little bumps and scratches to cars are so important. They're only lumps of metal. Don't the police have anything better to do than run around to these trivial incidents?

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2 hours ago, LukeSkywalker said:

Dude, don't you watch any movies?

 

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney."

Yes :D but never thought they were so real. If I was ever called by police here, i would have talked to them first unless I fear that I need someone to interpret the situation for me. 

 

In OP s situation I see that there is room for  confusion Because when he bumped into the car he did not realize it at once. So if there is a fahrflucht situation caused by the neighbour calling police, then he may need a lawyer to state his argument. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Acton said:

I can't understand why these little bumps and scratches to cars are so important. They're only lumps of metal. Don't the police have anything better to do than run around to these trivial incidents?

One time ,my street parked car had some miracle scratches by next morning. My super helpful landlady advised me to call the police . So I did, and waited there for more than an hour. They came , did some work and drove away. After a month I got a letter that they got no clues so the public prosecutor will drop the case.  

Not sure of any situation where that reporting can be of help

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On 2/20/2021, 7:36:37, jubinjohn said:

what can go wrong if one talk to the police directly without a lawyer. 

Why would one need a lawyer unless he is ina situation to interpret legal stuff

 

Mostly the lawyer will tell you: don't talk to the police. 

 

Watch this guy (in German) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctsXfSv1tes  from about 01:15 to 04:30.    Watch this American on same concept https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE   at about 19:23 to 25:05.

 

You don't know what will wind up happening with information you give the police, how the police and/or Staatsanwalt will interpret/use it.  If you deny being on a street, and then somebody else says you were.  It looks like you were lying.  If you admit being on a street but not to scratching a car -- now they've got you admitting you were near the car, so it's not a far leap to thinking you made the scratch.  Better to not say anything about whether you were on the street or not.  Just tell the police details from your identity documents.  It's their job to investigate the facts, but it is not your job to share the facts.

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