Criminal Offense of Hit and Run and Failure to Remain at the Scene
A hit and run car accident is generally defined as a person's failure to stop after a motor vehicle accident. When a person operating a motor vehicle is involved in an accident, the operator is legally required to stop, provide information to the owner of whatever property is damaged, and provide any aid to anyone who may have been injured. Many state statutes require a motorist to render all the aid that reasonably appears to him or her, as an ordinary person, to be necessary. The duty is not excused even if the injured person is unconscious, dead, or believed to be dead.
If a motorist causes property damage and cannot locate the property owner, the motorist is required to leave a note for the owner and file an accident report with the local police department. Failure to fulfill these requirements can result in a conviction for hit and run.
If you are charged with a hit and run you should immediately contact an experienced criminal law attorney. Many criminal law attorneys recommend not answering police questions until an attorney is present. If you chose to exercise your right to consult an attorney before answering questions, your decision does not constitute a refusal to cooperate.
Individuals convicted for hit and run offenses can expect a sentence ranging from fines and a suspended license to serious jail time depending on various factors. The courts will often consider such factors as the criminal record of the motorist, the nature of the accident, the location of the accident, the severity of damages, and the motorist cooperation, or lack of cooperation, with law enforcement. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to proceed in order to best protect your legal rights.
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