Our Tacoma Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses Consequences of a Hit and Run Accident
If you have been involved in a hit and run accident, contact your Tacoma criminal defense attorney for help with your case. Being involved in a car accident can be a scary situation, especially if you were at fault for the accident. Your first reaction may be to flee the scene after the accident, which is a common human reaction. However, according to your Tacoma criminal defense attorney, fleeing can only complicate your case even further. If you flee the scene of an accident, you may face stronger penalties than if you stayed on the scene. Your Tacoma criminal defense attorney wants you to be aware of what those stronger consequences are and why fleeing the scene is not the answer.
What Is Defined as a Hit and Run Accident?
A hit and run accident is when the driver of a vehicle strikes another vehicle, pedestrian, or an inanimate object and does not stop at the scene to leave their information or to check if anyone was hurt or needs help. In some states a hit and run accident could even involve an animal being struck. A hit and run can occur on highways, roads, and even parking lots. Some states consider a hit and run if you hit a parked car and do not leave a note. A hit and run accident can still be classified as such, even if you were not at-fault for the collision. It is considered a hit and run once one party leaves the scene without stopping. There are exemptions to this however. If you leave the scene to seek help, for example, then return to the scene then that is not considered a hit and run. If you have further questions about what a hit and run accident is, contact your Tacoma criminal defense attorney.
What Criminal Penalties Can You Face from a Hit and Run Accident?
Criminal penalties for a hit and run accident can vary in different states. The crime could be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the details of the accident. If there were injuries to the other party, whether in another car or a pedestrian, then it is likely that the charges against you will be classified as a felony. To find out what the penalties are in your state, check with your Tacoma criminal defense attorney. A felony hit and run charge can come with some steep consequences. In most states a fine will be imposed with the sentence that can range from $5,000 to $20,000. You will also be facing the possibility of jail time. In some states a hit and run accident can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, depending on the circumstances of the accident. A misdemeanor carries less of a punishment; however, it still comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.
What Administrative Penalties Can You Face from a Hit and Run Accident?
Not only will you face criminal penalties for a hit and run accident, but you will face administrative penalties as well. This means that the Department of Motor Vehicles will impose penalties on you as well. No matter what degree of hit and run accident you have been charged with, the DMV will likely suspend your driver’s license automatically. This suspension can be anywhere from six months to three years, depending on the severity of the accident. Some states impose a lifetime suspension of your driver’s license in the most severe of cases.
What Civil penalties Can You Face from a Hit and Run Accident?
If you are responsible for an accident that caused damages, then it is likely the other party will try to sue you in civil court. They may sue you for property damages, medical bills, lost wages, and future medical expenses. This can be the case whether you left the scene of the accident or stayed. However, if it was deemed a hit and run accident then the financial consequences could be higher. Many states automatically payout more to the plaintiff if the accident was a hit and run. This means that you will be responsible for paying a larger sum to the plaintiff than if it was an accident in which you stopped and stayed at the scene. This higher settlement amount is handed down to the defendant as an additional punishment for their poor judgement. Many states will actually triple the amount of damages in the case. In most cases, this amount will not be covered by your insurance.
Contact a Tacoma Criminal Defense Attorney
For an experienced professional, contact your Tacoma criminal defense attorney from Greene & Lloyd, PLLC at (253) 770-0808.