It's often human nature to slow down and look when you see something unusual, like an emergency scene, but what you might not realize is that in doing so, you're impeding the ability of first responders to get to the scene. You may also not know that it's possible to get charged with a crime known as sightseeing at an emergency scene; the name of this charge can vary from state to state. If you've ended up getting charged in this manner, you should seek out a law firm that can provide you with an attorney who has experience in dealing with this unique charge. Here are some scenarios in which a sightseeing at an emergency scene charge is possible.
A common way to end up with this charge is at the scene of a traffic accident. When many people pass accidents on the side of the road, they'll look — a phenomenon that is often known as "rubbernecking." Some people will take things a step further and actually stop their vehicle near the scene — not necessarily to help, but rather to watch the actions as they unfold. If your vehicle is positioned in a manner that emergency vehicles are unable to get as close as they need to be, you may receive this charge.
Sometimes, you might be out and about and suddenly come across the scene of a recent robbery. For example, perhaps someone robbed a convenience store or gas station just a moment before you arrived, and you have decided to stand next to the store and look in the door to see what the scene looks like. Most people in your situation will promptly move when the police arrive, but if you're anxious to see what you feel is this exciting scene and aren't prompt to get out of the way when you're asked, you could be charged.
When two combatants square off in the street or virtually anywhere else, it's common for a crowd of onlookers to gather around. Eventually, first responders — including the police — will hurry to the scene, and the crowd will usually scatter. If you're one of those who aren't in a hurry to leave, however, perhaps because you're enjoying watching the fight, your presence may delay the police in breaking up the exchange. This is another scenario in which you could get charged with sightseeing at the scene of an emergency.
For help understanding and fighting these charges, work with an attorney from a firm like Barrett Twomey Broom Hughes & Hoke LLP.