Understanding Hit and Run Accidents
by Lewis & Laws
Understanding Hit and Run Accidents
A teenager is in critical condition after a hit and run accident in Kennewick earlier this month. According to police reports, the teen was playing basketball in front of his home when his parents heard a noise. They rushed outside and found their son unconscious on the ground. The boy was immediately flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Police are currently seeking any information in connection with this devastating hit and run accident.
Hit and run accidents like this one occur at an alarming rate across the country. According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, hit and run accidents were responsible for 2,049 fatalities in 2016, up from 1,819 in 2015. This was the largest total since 1975. The report also found that 65% of people killed in hit and run accidents were pedestrians and bicyclists.
Do You Have to Stay at the Scene of Every Accident?
In the state of Washington, all drivers are required to stay at the scene of any accident. Even if you are not at fault for the accident, fleeing the scene of crash could constitute a hit and run crime. Washington State Law RCW 46.52.020 addresses the crime of hit and run accidents in the state. According to this law, all drivers must remain at the scene of an accident until they convey the following information:
- Insurance policy
- Insurance company
- Vehicle license plate number
If any parties involved are injured in the accident, then everyone is required to stay on the scene and lend aid until help arrives. Failing to stop and lend aid to any injured accident victims will result in criminal charges being filed, even if you were not to blame for the crash.
What are the Consequences of a Hit and Run?
If you are convicted of a hit and run accident, you may face serious consequences. The severity of these penalties and consequences depends largely on the seriousness of the offense, the injuries sustained, and any prior criminal history. If you hit another vehicle with a passenger inside that vehicle, you may be charged with a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 fine.
If you fled the scene of an accident that resulted in injury to another person, you could be charged with a Class C Felony offense. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If you fled the scene of an accident that resulted in a fatality, you could be charged with a Class B Felony offense. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
What is Hit and Run Property Damage?
Oftentimes, drivers are charged with hit and run after they’ve hit a parked car or mailbox and failed to take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner of the damaged property. If you damage another person’s property, you are required by law to leave a note at the accident scene with your name and address on it. You must also report the accident to the police. Failure to do so constitutes the crime of hit and run property damage and you could face serious consequences if you are convicted.
The crime of hit and run property damage is a misdemeanor charge and punishable by up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine. Convictions of hit and run will also likely increase your auto insurance costs. If you are a commercial driver, you may have your commercial driver’s license revoked.
Have you or someone you love been arrested and charged with a hit and run crime? Contact the Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC.
If you have been charged with a hit and run crime in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, it is important to act quickly to begin fighting these serious charges. Contacting an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer is the key to protecting your freedom and your future after an arrest. Let the expert defense team at Lewis & Laws, PLLC fight aggressively for you and your future. Our lawyers have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!