What Are the Penalties for a Hit and Run

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Sep 21, 2014 in Auto Accident

There are stiff consequences for leaving the scene of an auto accident in which you are involved, either with a pedestrian, another car, or even an animal in some states.

In most states it doesn’t matter whether or not you caused the accident; you must stop to render aid or seek emergency assistance for those injured. If you have to leave to call for help, you must immediately return to the scene of the accident.

Fatal Bicycle-Involved Hit and Run Crash – Highway 30 West of Rainier in Columbia County

On August 30, 2014 at approximately 2:56 p.m., Oregon State Police (OSP) received a report of a hit and run crash in which a pickup struck a bicycle along the westbound lanes of Highway 30 near milepost 50 just west of Rainier. A few minutes later the suspect vehicle was stopped by an OSP trooper near milepost 55 and the driver detained. Emergency responders arriving on scene of the accident where the bicyclist was reportedly struck, and  confirmed that the bicycle rider was deceased after coming to rest off the highway, down an embankment.

Investigation revealed that the motorist was driving westbound and became distracted while looking at a text message on his phone. His vehicle traveled onto the shoulder where it struck the bicyclist. The driver, who does not have a valid license, continued driving without stopping at the scene.

The driver was lodged in Columbia County Jail for Manslaughter in the First Degree, Felony Hit & Run, and a misdemeanor warrant out of Washington County for Fail to Appear.

Criminal Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Criminal penalties for a hit and run may be classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. A felony hit and run is defined by most states as leaving the scene of an accident where there is any type of injury to a person, whether the injured person is a pedestrian or the occupant of a vehicle.

The penalties for a felony hit and run can be severe, with most states imposing a fine of between $5,000 and $20,000 and potential of in prison incarceration for up to 15 years. In most states, a misdemeanor hit and run is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail.

Administrative Penalties for a Hit and Run

In addition to criminal penalties, the Department of Motor Vehicles in almost every state imposes administrative penalties related to a driver’s license. Any conviction of either a felony or misdemeanor hit and run typically results in an automatic suspension or revocation of a driver’s license for a period of six months or more. Depending on the state and circumstances of the accident, the penalty may include lifetime revocation of the license.

Civil Penalties for a Hit and Run

If you have caused the accident you also may be liable for damages. Most states will “treble damages” (triple the amount) imposed on you with a hit and run conviction, which are usually not covered by your automobile insurance policy.

The Bicycle Accidents section on this website will tell you what you need to do in the event of a bicycle accident.