A hit and run charge can be issued in a wide variety of accident situations. Of course ,the first type of hit and run case that comes to mind involves a driver who rear-ends or slams into another vehicle and speeds off without stopping. It is possible however, to get charged with hit and run, when you didn’t even hit anybody. Sometimes, all it takes is being involved in an accident and a simple case of miscommunication to get slapped with a hit and run charge. If you or somebody you love is facing hit and run charges, you need to get with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible about your defense case.Elements of a Hit and Run
To satisfy the elements of a hit and run charge, there are two basic things that have to happen. First, you have to be involved in a car accident. Second, you have to leave the scene without stopping to identify yourself or render aid to somebody who might need assistance. The collision can involve another vehicle, a pedestrian, a fixed object a motorcycle, or even a cyclist. You don’t necessarily have to “hit” somebody or something to get charged with hit and run. Often, just being involved in an accident and leaving the scene is enough.What if You Didn’t Cause the Accident?
If you didn’t cause the accident, it’s still possible to be charged with hit and run. The act of leaving the scene after an accident is often enough to get slapped with a hit and run charge. Even if you’re the one who got hit, you’re required by law to stay on the scene, unless of course, you are transported to the hospital. After any type of collision, with a car, pedestrian, truck, motorcycle or bicycle, you must wait on the scene, whether you caused the accident or not. If you have extenuating circumstances or a compelling reason for leaving the scene, especially if you were a victim or you did not cause the accident, you need to tell your criminal defense lawyer immediately.Avoid a Hit and Run Charge
Depending upon the unique circumstances of your particular case, whether or not somebody was injured in the crash could have a serious impact on your potential conviction or penalties. If it was only a case of property damage, you could be looking at less serious penalties or additional charges. If somebody was injured or even killed, and you’ve been charged with hit and run, the stakes are going to be high. If you’re being charged with hit and run in a case involving somebody who got injured or was killed, you need to get with your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.Penalties Associated With Hit and Run Charges
Each case is different, but if you’re convicted of hit and run, you could be facing misdemeanor or more serious felony charges. If you’re facing felony hit and run charges, you could be looking at more than a year behind bars in a correctional facility. Additionally, you could also be facing fines of up to $20,000. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you could be facing an extended period of time behind bars, if convicted. If somebody was injured or killed, expect to face even more serious penalties, if convicted. Finally, you could also be named in a civil liability lawsuit, regardless of the outcome of your criminal case.Civil Liability in a Hit and Run Case
In addition to criminal charges involving hit and run, you could also be facing civil liability. This means you could be named in a lawsuit involving the injured party. If somebody was killed, you might be sued for wrongful death. Whether you caused the accident or not, failing to stop and render aid might be proven to be negligence in a civil case. The consequences of a civil case will be added to whatever potential penalties you’re facing, if convicted of a hit and run criminal charge. The best way to stay on top of any potential civil case is to get a experienced and proven criminal defense lawyer on your side, as soon as charges have been filed.
If you or a loved one is facing hit and run charges in the Jackson Metro Area or in any of the surrounding communities, contact the team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (877) 231-1600 for an immediate case consultation.