Hit and run accidents stem from extremely negligent drivers who choose to drive away after hitting somebody. They never check to make sure that property wasn’t damaged and they don’t stop to see if the other drivers or passengers involved are all right. This is why hit and run accidents are very serious and illegal, because in some cases, fatalities have occurred in specific accidents. And if a driver is not found because they fled the scene, this turns into a very involved crime. You hear about cases all the time when a driver fled the scene in an accident. In fact, just in January of this year, a man and woman were arrested in California for fleeing the scene of an accident that left a man dead in Santa Ana. The man was actually walking on foot when the driver struck him and instantly killed him, and then fled away immediately after. However, the driver did not make it far – he drove nearly two miles from the scene before he crashed, got out of his vehicle, and started running. His sister was charged with being in connection to the case.
You may think that a lot of people get away with hit and run accidents, but many witnesses have come forth and spoken on behalf of what they saw at an accident scene. Word of mouth holds a lot of weight when it deals with such a serious crime! There are very serious penalties that somebody may face when they leave the scene of an accident. You may find that a hit and run case could be a misdemeanor or a felony charge depending on the circumstances of the case and what was involved. A misdemeanor charge may arise from something like simply backing up into a vehicle, knowing you hit the person, but driving away. A felony may be an accident where you hit a pedestrian, knew that they were unconscious and suffered injuries, and fled anyway. Though various penalties can arise to those involved in a misdemeanor hit and run case, those with felonies could expect fines between $5,000 and $20,000. They could spend an astounding 15 years in prison for their crime!
What other penalties should be expected after a hit and run accident?
Criminal penalties like fines and jail may not be the only penalties you will face. No, you may also find that you receive Administrative penalties through the Department of Motor Vehicles that could include an automatic suspension or revocation of your driver’s license for six months or more. You may also face civil penalties that stem from the injured person who was left at the scene. If they have suffered any monetary damages either to their property or injury to themselves, you should expect a lawsuit. In the case of a lawsuit brought on by a victim, they may ask for compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, or property damage to their vehicle. You may even see that the court imposes something known as “treble damages,” which means that all damages awarded to the plaintiff will be tripled to punish bad behavior. This is only for the most reckless conduct. If you have fled the scene of an accident and somebody was seriously injured, you may be facing felony charges as a result.
This is why it is always a good idea to have an attorney defending your rights and giving you the help you need in a dire situation. Call today to find out what options you have. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we are always waiting for your phone call.