Is it illegal for a witness to leave the scene of a crime?

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  1. andrew savage profile image58
    andrew savageposted 10 years ago

    Is it illegal for a witness to leave the scene of a crime?

  2. SidKemp profile image88
    SidKempposted 10 years ago

    I believe that the answer is no. A witness is an innocent bystander to an event, and so, in the US, a law requiring a witness to remain would be an infringement on fundamental freedoms.

    There are reasons to stay, though. such as to help victims, or to help police get a correct understanding of events. That's what I do.

    And, of course, if you are seen and leave, then there is a risk you might be seen as a suspect. If you stay and explain what you saw when the police arrive, you are less likely to be a suspect.

    Now, once a case is being investigated, the police can request the court to declare someone a "material witness." A material witness may be required to testify, may be held in contempt for not testifying, and may, in certain cases, be held by the police. However, this is not related to leaving the scene of a crime.

  3. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 10 years ago

    If you are involved in the accident it is a crime to leave the scene, but if you are a witness or bystander there is no problem

  4. profile image0
    Sarra Garrettposted 10 years ago

    you state 'crime' which is something illegal.  Yes, actually, it is illegal for a witness to leave the scene of a crime.  It's considered non cooperation in a police investigation.  But don't worry they'll find you eventually. I know because I used to knock on witnesses doors. 

    Besides, if you witnessed a real crime and can finger the bad guy why leave?  But the ass(*^ in jail and get him off the street.  Be a good samaritan.  That's what is wrong with this world, no one wants to get involved in helping others.  That's why women who get attacked can't yell 911 or police, they have to yell 'Fire' as more people will come running to watch someone jump out of a bulding window.  Sad.

    1. profile image0
      JThomp42posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      It must depend on what state you live in. I researched it, and it is not illegal in my state.

    2. SidKemp profile image88
      SidKempposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Sarra - I'd appreciate a citation to a statute - this is interesting to me.

    3. andrew savage profile image58
      andrew savageposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I suppose it would be legal for a witness to leave a crime scene in any state of America if that person feels that their life is endangered, or if the person is suffering from a condition that would make it unsafe for the witness to stick around.

    4. SidKemp profile image88
      SidKempposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Andrew, your supposition is based on an assumption that the laws of the states of the US are rational. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.


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