Felony Hit and Run
A hit and run has serious consequences no matter what the outcome, but it’s classified differently depending if someone is hurt or not. If there is harm to a person as a result of the hit and run, charges will be filed as a felony. Without harm, a hit and run is a misdemeanor offense.
The laws and penalties regarding felony classes and offenses vary for each state. Ohio law is used in this article to offer a basic understanding of the felony hit and run offense.
Steps to Take After an Accident on Public Roads
If an accident takes place on a public road or highway, and the driver is aware that he has caused damage to personal property or that he has caused physical harm to a person, he is bound by law to immediately stop his vehicle. Then he must give his driving information to the person who has been injured or who owns the property and remain at the scene until the police arrive.
Information that must be given:
•Driver’s name and address
•Vehicle owner’s name and address (if they are not the same)
•Vehicle registration number
Should the property owner be injured and unable to take the driver’s information, it is the driver’s responsibility to notify the police. If the driver must leave the scene of the accident to notify the police, he must return to the scene of the accident immediately afterwards.
If the driver hits an unoccupied or unattended vehicle and is unable to notify the owner, the driver must attach his information in a secure and conspicuous place in or on the unattended vehicle.
Failure to perform the above requirements will result in a minimum charge of misdemeanor hit and run. If the accident caused serious physical harm to a person, the hit and run offense will be classified as a felony of the fifth degree. Should the accident cause death, the offense will be enhanced to a third degree felony.
Felony Hit and Run on Non-Public Roads
Hit and run elements are the same for non-public road accidents as they are for public roads, except that if the accident causes serious physical harm or death, the charge of hit and run becomes a fifth degree felony offense.
Sentencing for Felony Hit and Run
The penalties for fifth degree felony offense can vary from state to state, but a typical sentence would be a prison term of 6 to 12 months and a $2,500 fine. The driver will also have his driver’s license suspended for a term of six months to 3 years.
Hit and run is a very serious offense and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Staying and facing the consequences after an accident, even if you were at fault, will always result in a lesser penalty than if you’re caught later. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, however, and those accused of any felony hit and run should seek legal counsel immediately.