Frequently Asked Questions About Hit and Run Offenses
You probably shudder at the thought of hitting a pedestrian, another car, or someone’s personal property with your car. When that nightmare scenario occurs, you must remain at the scene and offer whatever assistance you can. If you flee the scene, the authorities may charge you with a hit and run offense.
The more you understand about this crime, from the law’s definition of it to the potential defenses against it, the more effectively you and your attorney can work together to prepare your case. Check out the following frequently asked questions about hit and run offenses.
What Constitutes a Hit and Run Incident?
A hit and run incident can involve two or more cars, or it can involve your car and a cyclist, pedestrian, or stationary object. In all these situations, you must stop at the scene of the incident, call 911 or provide any other aid to an injured party, and wait for police to arrive so you can provide whatever information they require.
A hit and run incident doesn’t have to involve injury to another person or even the presence of a witness. You might still face hit and run charges if you flee the scene without first reporting the incident to the police or leaving a note with your contact information.
What Charges Can Hit and Run Incidents Draw?
A hit and run incident can draw either misdemeanor or felony charges. If the collision causes injury or death and you flee the scene without summoning help, you may face a Class F felony charge under North Carolina law. If the police let you leave the scene but you fail to return promptly, you may face a Class H felony charge.
Even if you stop at the scene of the incident, you could still face misdemeanor charges if you fail to render proper aid and assistance. For instance, failure to call for medical aid or provide contact information to police counts as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
What Potential Penalties Can You Expect?
A hit and run conviction in North Carolina can lead to jail time for felony offenses. A Class F felony conviction may force you to spend up to 41 months in prison, while a Class H felony sentence may imprison you for up to 25 months. A class 1 misdemeanor conviction can mean up to 120 days in jail as well as a fine.
The consequences of a hit and run conviction go beyond criminal penalties. You may also lose your auto insurance coverage or face a civil lawsuit from whoever suffered losses due to your actions.
How Can a Defense Attorney Help Your Case?
As cut and dried as a hit and run charge might seem, you may have an opportunity to get the charge dismissed or at least reduced if you can prepare a successful case in your defense. Start by documenting the accident scene thoroughly. Photos, video, and eyewitness information may prove invaluable to you later.
A skilled attorney may exploit a few different possible defenses in a hit and run case. For instance, your attorney might argue that you didn’t even realize that you’d caused an accident. If your attorney can show that someone drugged or intoxicated you against your will, a court might find you not guilty of a hit and run crime.
Even if you had a clear head and knew that you’d hit someone or something, you might not receive a hit and run conviction if you had to leave the scene to respond to another emergency. For example, you might not have had a chance to stop and render aid if you needed to rush to hospital as a matter of life or death.
If you drove away from the scene of an auto accident instead of staying put, you need the expertise of Carl L. Britt, Jr Attorney at Law. Our experienced legal team can review your case, advise you on the proper course of action, and make the strongest possible case in your defense. Contact us for a free consultation.