Charged With Hit and Run. Now What?
Being engaged in a Hit and Run may be stressful and have a long-term impact on your criminal record. It is generally the result of an accident, but it can have significant implications, such as jail time. There can be several reasons for your Hit and Run such as getting stressed when hitting the vehicle you hit and you fleeing the scene. Being drunk, injured, confused, or any form of incapacitation may also be reasons for the Hit and Run. Ultimately, regardless of the reason, you failed to submit the essential information when you damaged another person’s property or car, and as a result you may now face a Hit and Run prosecution as a result. The attorneys at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer understand that there may be extraneous circumstances leading to the Hit and Run, and we are devoted to presenting and defending you in a court of law.
What are the different types of Hit and Run?
Hit and Run Unattended:
Hit and Run in the State of Washington is defined as when a driver or an operator of a vehicle crashes into another vehicle, and then proceeds to flee the scene. If you crash into an unattended vehicle, such as a parked car, you are required by law to locate its owner or leave a note with your contact information and address. If you leave the damaged vehicle without your due diligence, it is considered a misdemeanor in the State of Washington. Misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail, and a $1,000 fine.
Hit and Run Attended:
When you crash into an attended or occupied vehicle, you are also required to locate the owner and provide him with pertinent information such as name, address, driver’s license information, and insurance. Fleeing from the scene without stopping and giving your information to the other driver will result in a gross misdemeanor Hit and Run charge. A gross misdemeanor’s maximum sentencing is 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Hit and Run Property Damage:
Damaging someone else’s property with your vehicle and fleeing may also result in a Hit and Run charge. You are still responsible for providing the damaged property’s owner with your information, failure to do so will also result in a misdemeanor Hit and Run.
Hit and Run Death or Injury:
A Hit and Run resulting in someone else’s injury or death is typically the most serious Hit and Run charge. Fleeing the scene and failing to contact or wait for authorities will result in a felony charge, and the severity of the felony depends on if the person was injured or killed in the accident. An accident resulting in an injury is a class C felony, which carries a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Death as a result of the accident in a Hit and Run is a class B felony with a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Being involved in a Hit and Run can have serious legal and personal consequences. Having the right attorneys representing you can have a massive impact on how your case turns out. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer is equipped with the right expertise to handle your case.
What am I required to do when I am in an accident?
To keep yourself safe in any circumstance when you are involved in an accident there are several crucial steps one must take care to complete. Stop immediately as close as possible to the scene of impact or crash, contact authorities and DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE. Find the owner of the damaged property. If you cannot locate the owner, a written note in a conspicuous place is required by law. The information that you should give the owner or write on the note is as follows:
- Full name
- Insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Vehicle license number
- Driver’s license must be written down or shown to the victim
How can it be resolved?
There are several defenses that are used for Hit and Run accidents. Defenses are highly contingent on the person’s intent and the facts and circumstances that are involved in your particular case. You may have just not realized that you damaged it by accident and you left the scene without knowledge of the damage. Maybe you realized that you damaged the vehicle or property and left a note but the note was misplaced by the owner or the note was blown away by the wind. Even if you did leave the scene and didn’t comply with the strict requirements of the law, a skilled attorney may be able to resolve your case without a conviction through a process known as a civil compromise which involves paying for the damage caused or getting your insurance to pay for it, or entering into a diversionary program among other ways to resolve the case.
In any case it is highly recommended that you have an attorney representing you, since every case is unique. The attorneys at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer are ready and willing to represent and defend you in a court of law. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.