How To Get Out Of A Hit and Run Charge
What Constitutes a Hit and Run? A hit and run is defined as being in an accident with a pedestrian, another car, or a fixed object, and then leaving the scene without identifying yourself or seeing if anyone or anything needs assistance. It becomes a hit and run charge when you leave the scene. It doesn’t matter if you even caused the accident.
When Does a Hit and Run Become a Felony? In California, if no one was injured in the accident, but there was property damage, it may result in a misdemeanor charge. This is because the defendant didn’t stop and identify themselves. If a hit and run occurred and there was an injury to another person, or if someone was killed in the accident, the defendant may be charged with a felony.
What Are the Consequences of a Hit and Run? The penalties for a hit and run can be quite serious. Depending on the state, you will get a big fine. Most states impose fines of $1,000 and $10,000. The fine will be on the higher end of the range if you are charged with a felony. Jail time will also vary between states and is dependent upon if it is a misdemeanor or felony. In most cases, you will face up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor and up to 15 years in prison for a severe hit and run felony. Other possible consequences include:
- Typically there is an automatic suspension of driver’s license.
- If someone was convicted of a hit and run, there is an automatic suspension or revocation of their driver’s license for a period of about 6 months. In some states, the revocation can be as long as 3 years.
- A lawsuit is common.
- If you were in an accident and caused injury to another person or their property, that person may sue you in court for damages. A lawsuit like this could ask for monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damages.
- Your insurance company may cancel your automobile policy.
- On top of all these other penalties, many insurance companies have a practice of canceling your automobile insurance policy if you’re guilty of a hit and run.
What are Common Defenses to Hit and Run?
- The accident only caused injury to the defendant.
- One of the elements in defining a hit and run is that there was an injury to another person or thing. This means that if you can prove that the accident only affected the defendant, then you have a good defense.
- You did not willfully leave the scene.
- If the defendant left the scene because it was not safe to stay there, they may not be charged with the offense. This will raise questions about if they notified the police or paramedics after the accident.
- Lack of knowledge.
- It is difficult to hold someone liable if they didn’t know that they caused damage to a person or property. You can use this as a defense, but you also risk being found as reckless or negligent.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help With My Hit and Run Case? When you’re dealing with something as serious at $1,000-$10,000 fines and facing 1-3 years of jail time, you don’t want to go into court without a hit and run attorney. If you are in San Diego and are looking for a criminal defense lawyer to help you with your case, Bradley Corbett has experience and knows how to navigate a hit and run case. Call him today so he can start helping you with your hit and run charge.
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.