Many states define a hit-and-run incident as an instance when a driver crashes into another car, private property, or a pedestrian, and then leaves immediately without reporting the incident, offering first aid or doing both. It is a crime to leave the accident scene, and such a case can be classified either as a felony or misdemeanor, is punishable by either paying a heavy fine or getting incarcerated, and in some cases both can apply. The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that out of every 100 vehicle accidents, 11 of them are hit-and-run incidents.
Below are six things you should know about this type of crime.
- You can be charged for a hit-and-run incident even if it was not your fault.
According to the U.S law, leaving a scene after an accident is a crime. You are expected to provide your contact information to the other driver, and this is regardless of who is at fault. Therefore, even if you are not to blame, you should stop and share your contact details with the other driver before you leave the accident scene.
- You can leave the site of the accident only if you are going to seek medical attention either for yourself or another person.
There are some emergencies that justify drivers leaving the accident scene immediately after the accident even without providing their contact information. You can drive away in case you are going to seek medical attention for another person or yourself.
- You can be charged for committing a felony even if the only person who was injured was your passenger.
Even after you stop and make sure that the other driver and his or her passengers are safe, you can face felony charges if you decide to leave the scene without leaving your contact details, and if there was an injured person in your car.
- You can resolve a hit-and-run case without going to court.
Misdemeanor cases that involve accidents with property can be resolved outside the court if the other driver agrees to such a solution. To convince the other party to agree to this form of a solution, consult car accident lawyers like Loughlin Fitzgerald PC. Your attorney will guide you all the way and help you evade jail time and probation.
- Even if there was no other vehicle damaged, there is a chance of being charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run.
Hit-and-run cases also includes the destruction of property by a driver. This can include damage of a mailbox, fence, or a person’s pet.
- Unattended vehicle hit-and-run
Many states have laws concerning collision with parked or unattended vehicles. You are required to stop, locate, and then notify the owner of the car and provide them with your contact address. In case you don’t locate the owner of the car, you should leave a written document to notify the other person. The document should contain your name and address.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and family issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. You can find Dixie on Facebook.