Can a family member(s) be detained if another family member fled the scene of an accident?

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Can a family member(s) be detained if another family member fled the scene of an accident?

My cousin hit an officer with his car and fled the scene of the accident. When he fled he called my aunt. I do not know what was said. She was with my mother walking to my house when they were stopped by 2 detectives and taken to our local precinct. They are being held there until my cousin presents himself at the precinct. Can the police legally hold them until he does?

Asked on December 10, 2010 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I think that your Aunt needs to say the words: am I being arrested here or am I free to go?  And if she is being detained she needs to "lawyer up" and request to speak with her attorney.  If they do not intend to charge her then she can walk.  If they do, she needs to call a lawyer.  I think that the police think that she has information as to his whereabouts and she may be charged with obstructing justice.  So I do think that it may be best for you to call an attorney and have one go down to the precinct on her behalf.  Good luck.


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