A hit and run, also known as leaving the scene of an accident, is when a driver is involved in an accident with a pedestrian, another car, or a fixed object, and leaves the scene without identifying himself or rendering aid to anyone who is hurt. A hit and run charge won't indicate fault, only that the accused fled the scene. If you're arrested for hit and run in North Carolina, you need to talk with an experienced attorney immediately. Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident include fines and jail time and can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. In addition to court costs and time behind bars, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident may also have his license suspended. Typically, felony hit and run is charged when a driver leaves the scene of an accident in which someone else has been injured and misdemeanor charges are brought when there is only damage to property.
Hit and Run Charges in North Carolina
The duty to stop statute in North Carolina requires any driver involved in an accident to contact law enforcement and stay at the scene of the accident until they arrive. At the scene, any driver involved is legally obliged to provide assistance to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and anyone else involved regardless of perceived fault. Whether the accident involves others or only damage to property, the driver in question must provide sufficient information for recourse including their name, contact number and insurance company information. Failure to fulfill any of the criteria of the duty to stop statute could be cause to charge the driver in question with hit and run charges.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run
The punishment for a misdemeanor hit and run conviction in North Carolina is based on a range of factors. If an accident only results in property damage and/or minimal injury to another individual, you will be charged with misdemeanor hit and run charges for leaving the scene of an accident. Most misdemeanor hit and run charges are categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail or performing community service or intermediate punishment.
Felony Hit and Run
If you flee the scene of an accident where you are involved and there are injuries to others, you can be charged with felony hit and run. The penalties these felony charges are significantly more severe. A felony hit and run charge is classified as a Class H Felony, which carries a punishment of up to 25 months in prison. This is a charge that absolutely requires representation from a criminal defense attorney when you go to court. When you go to court, the prosecutor will try to prove the following: ● You know you were involved in an accident that has caused injury or death ● You willingly refused to stay at the scene of the accident ● You failed to remain in your vehicle until an investigation was completed ● You willingly removed your vehicle from the accident scene before an investigation could be completed ● And anything else they can to show that you intentionally left an accident you were involved in, didn't adhere to the duty to stop law and offered no assistance to others. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you minimize the impact of a hit and run conviction and may be able to have the case dismissed, or the charges reduced. Call The Law Offices of Jason H. Reece in Charlotte at 704-714-8888 or fill out this contact form for a free consultation.