If you get into a collision with a pedestrian or another vehicle, you are required to stop and exchange your information with the other person. If you fail to do this, you could get charged with a hit and run. Whether you get charged with a misdemeanor or felony will depend on whether injuries resulted from the accident or not.
Penalties of a Hit and Run
Getting charged with a hit and run is a serious matter and can negatively affect your life in many ways. Here’s a closer look at some of the penalties of a hit and run:
- Heavy Fines: A hit and run comes with some pretty hefty fines. If you’re convicted, you could end up owing between $5,000 and $20,000 in fines. With such expensive fines on your plate, you may have more difficulty paying your other bills.
- Incarceration: There is also the possibility of incarceration if you get convicted of a hit and run. If the person you hit, for example, suffered serious injuries, a judge may decide to give you a longer prison sentence. If you have to go to prison, you may lose your job and spend valuable time away from the people you care about.
- Driver’s License Revocation: If you’re convicted of a hit and run, a judge will revoke your driver’s license for a certain period of time. If you live in an area without public transportation, you may have a lot of difficulty getting to work and other important places. You may have to rely on others to give you rides until you get your license back.
- Cancelled Auto Insurance: A hit and run conviction can also result in your auto insurance getting cancelled. If another insurer accepts you, they will likely charge you very high rates.
Defenses for a Hit and Run
If you were charged with a hit and run, there are a few available defenses your lawyer may want to use, like:
- You Had an Emergency: If you were taking a sick relative to a hospital or had some other type of emergency, you may be able to use that as a defense for a hit and run.
- You Didn’t Know You Caused an Accident: If you were not aware that you hit another driver or pedestrian, that may be a viable defense. For instance, if it was dark out and a pedestrian wearing dark clothing crossed the street when you hit him or her, you could say that you didn’t see anyone.
Hiring a Lawyer
Whether your hit and run accident resulted in injuries or not, you should consult with a lawyer with experience in criminal defense in DC as soon as possible. He or she will review your case and make you aware of all your options. If you know you have a skilled lawyer on your side, you may feel less nervous about your situation.
Thank you to our friends and contributos at The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn for their insight into criminal defense.