What Is The Consequence For a Hit And Run Violation

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The penalties for a hit and run violation vary in each state, sometimes prosecuted as a misdemeanor crime. However, if the accident resulted in the death of another person or serious bodily injury, the individual could be charged with a felony offense.

State Traffic Laws Regarding Accidents

When a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, no matter how minor, state laws require the driver to follow certain procedures following the incident. These procedures may vary depending on:

  • Whether there was major property damage or the dollar value of the damage exceeded a specific amount
  • If another person was injured in the accident, such as the other driver, a passenger or pedestrian
  • If there was serious bodily injury inflicted or the accident resulted in the death of someone

The traffic laws in each state require individuals to stop and exchange information with any other driver who was involved, including license, registration and insurance information. If you hit a parked vehicle with nobody in it, you should leave a note for the owner with your contact information and also take down the license number of the vehicle you hit. You may be able to report the accident to law enforcement so that restitution can be made to the vehicle’s owner.

The Penalties for Hit and Run

Any person who knowingly injures another person, an animal, or causes major property damage with their vehicle is required to call the police. Failing to do so is a crime and the penalties for hit and run violations can be severe. Most states prosecute these crimes as misdemeanors, but if the accident results in serious bodily injury or death, they may be facing a felony charge. For example, in the State of Illinois, these crimes carry the following punishment:

Hit & Run Causing Major Property Damage

Hit & Run Injuring Another Person

Hit & Run Causing the Death of Another Person

Class 4 Felony Offense

Class 2 Felony Offense

Class 1 Felony Offense

Up to 3 Years in State Prison

Up to 7 Years in State Prison

Up to 15 Years in State Prison

Fine up to $25,000

Fine up to $25,000

Fine up to $25,000

More states are passing legislation to strengthen the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that these crimes are on the increase throughout the U.S. Perpetrators who don’t turn themselves in may face much harsher penalties once they are found. Additional penalties may include suspension or revocation of their driver’s license and compensation paid to the victim. In addition, they may be facing a civil suit for personal injury or wrongful death.

How An Attorney Can Defend You

If you or someone you know has been involved in a hit and run accident, you may want to obtain professional legal advice. Once you retain the services of an attorney, he or she is required to keep anything you tell them confidential. Keep in mind that there may have been witnesses to the accident and it could be just a matter of time before the police find you. A lawyer may be able to help negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution, resulting in a lesser punishment.

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