The Hive Law

Hit And Run Charges (How Long Will You Go To Jail?)

Minor Hit And Run Charges For A Parked Car - Is A Hit And Run A Felony Misdemeanor - Consequences For Hit And Run Penalties Jail Time No Injuries

What are hit-and-run charges?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • the laws for hit and run
  • the criminal charges you’ll face (your fines and jail time)
  • what evidence to gather for a hit and run case
  • how to report a hit and run to the police
  • what to do if you were just involved in a hit and run accident
  • how to beat hit and run charges
  • what defenses someone can use in a hit and run case

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

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Statistics For Hit And Run Charges

  • The average jail sentence for hit-and-runs last year was 6 months.
  • Last year, there were over 100,000 jail sentences issued.
  • Only 20% of hit-and-run fatalities are solved by the police.
  • Last year, there were more than 400,000 hit and run charges.
  • If only 20% of cases are solved, that means there were more than 2M cases last year.
  • Pedestrians accounted for nearly 70% of all hit-and-run fatalities.
  • The average age of victims in hit-and-run fatalities is 41 years old.
  • The estimated number of hit-and-run accidents per year is close to 1 million.
  • Hit and run fatalities accounted for over 2,000 deaths last year.
  • California had the highest number of hit and run fatalities with 548 deaths.

Introduction To Hit And Run Charges

Hit and run accidents can lead to serious injuries or fatalities.

Victims of hit and run accidents are left on their own to deal with:

  • medical bills
  • personal injuries
  • vehicle repairs
  • increased costs from their insurance company

Not every driver of a vehicle leaves the scene of an accident intentionally.

Some people go into shock, get scared, or are not able to stay on the scene.

Shock can be a common result of the accident.

What Is A Hit And Run?

A hit and run is when a driver intentionally leaves the scene of an accident without:

  • providing contact information or exchanging information
  • providing reasonable assistance to an injured person

What Is A Hit And Run Charge?

A hit and run charge is a formal accusation made by a prosecutor.

They are accusing you of leaving the scene of an accident without:

  • providing your contact information
  • providing assistance to other people involved in the accident

Generally, hit and run is a felony offense that can carry:

  • a prison sentence of up to five years
  • a fine of up to $10,000

Those convicted of a hit and run may face an automatic license suspension.

They may also get ordered to pay damages to any victims involved in the incident.

Hit and run charges may also appear on the driver’s permanent record.

This can make it more difficult to secure employment or other financial opportunities.

Hit And Run Laws

For hit and run laws, drivers are legally required to remain at the scene of the accident.

Per hit and run statutes, you can leave the scene of an accident after you:

  1. stop immediately at the scene or as close as possible
  2. provide your name, address, vehicle registration number, and driver’s license number
  3. help injured people
  4. notify law enforcement of the accident
  5. file a written report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 24 hours

If you fail to follow these rules, you can get charged with hit and run.

Some hit and run examples are the owner of the vehicle:

What Are The Hit And Run Penalties?

This section will cover:

  • criminal charges you’ll face for hit and run convictions
  • how much someone can sue you for
  • fines and jail time you’ll get
  • penalties for hitting a parked car

Criminal Penalties

We’re going to cover all of the scenarios that you can face with a hit and run accident.

Here are the penalties for hit and run offenses resulting in:

  • minor property damage: misdemeanor, up to $2,500 in fines, and up to 1 year in county jail.
  • serious injury: felony, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 5 years in prison.
  • death: felony, up to $10,000 in fines, and up to 15 years in prison.
  • an animal’s death: misdemeanor, up to $500 in fines, and up to 1 year in jail.
  • law enforcement’s death: felony, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 5 years in prison.

With all of these, your driver’s license can get suspended for up to 5 years.

If you kill two people during a hit and run, you won’t serve two 15-year sentences.

The judge will likely lump them together and give you, say, 20 years instead.

They have the ability to impose different jail sentences on you.

Civil Penalties

The civil penalties for a hit and run depend on the severity of the car accident.

You’ll get sued for:

  • medical expenses (i.e., hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription medications, etc.)
  • lost wages (i.e., salary, overtime, bonuses, commissions, tips, etc.)
  • property damage (i.e., vehicles, buildings, fences, light poles, etc.)
  • pain and suffering (i.e., physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, etc.)
  • related costs (i.e. towing fees, rental car fees, hiring a personal injury lawyer)

There are two scenarios for a hit and run settlement.

Let’s say that someone sues you and wins $1,000,000, who pays that?

It can either be:

  • the driver that has to pay out of pocket
  • the insurance company that pays (if they have this coverage)

When an insurance company pays the settlement, they will issue:

  • a check directly to the victim of the hit and run
  • a check to the personal injury lawyer, who then pays the victim

Let’s say that insurance doesn’t cover it and the driver has to pay out of pocket.

They have the options to:

  • set up a payment plan
  • make a lump sum payment

A payment plan would get set up for monthly payments.

If the person doesn’t pay each month, they could face more fines and jail time.

Consequences For Hit And Run

Hit and run is a serious crime you can face severe consequences for.

Depending on the severity of the incident, a hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

A misdemeanor hit and run may result:

  • in fines
  • jail time
  • a license suspension

A felony hit and run can result in time in a state or federal prison and a criminal record.

A hit and run can also have long-term consequences.

Such as increased car insurance rates and difficulty securing a loan or job.

A hit and run driver can get sued by the victim of the incident.

And get held liable for medical bills and other damages.

Your hit and run charges can get tacked onto other criminal charges, too, like:

  • reckless driving
  • DUIs and DWIs
  • vehicular manslaughter
  • driving on a suspended license

If you hit a parked car, be sure to leave your information on the car.

Put your information in a conspicuous place on the car.

And take a photo of it being on the car for proof.

Otherwise, the other person can claim the vehicle accident was a hit and run.

Even if it wasn’t.

You’ll need this photo evidence to get a revocation of your hit and run charges.

Hit And Run Parked Car Charges

Here are the penalties for a hit and run of a parked car, resulting in:

  • minor property damage: misdemeanor, up to $2,500 in fines, and up to 1 year in jail.
  • serious injury: felony, up to $5,000 in fines, and up to 5 years in prison.

The same rules apply here as normal.

It’s likely that you’ll just cause minor property damage to a parked, unattended vehicle.

Hit And Run Jail Time By State

StateMaximum Jail TimeMaximum FinesChargesStatute of Limitations
Alabama1 year$6,000Misdemeanor2 years
Alaska5 years$50,000Felony5 years
Arizona2 years$2,500Misdemeanor3 years
Arkansas6 years$10,000Felony3 years
California1 year$10,000Misdemeanor2 years
Colorado18 months$500Misdemeanor3 years
Connecticut5 years$5,000Felony5 years
Delaware8 months$1,500Misdemeanor2 years
Florida5 years$10,000Felony4 years
Georgia1 year$1,000Misdemeanor4 years
Hawaii5 years$10,000Felony3 years
Idaho5 years$5,000Felony4 years
Illinois7 years$10,000Felony3 years
Indiana2 years$10,000Felony3 years
Iowa5 years$7,500Felony3 years
Kansas1 year$2,500Misdemeanor5 years
Kentucky1 year$500Misdemeanor5 years
Louisiana5 years$5,000Felony3 years
Maine5 years$5,000Felony6 years
Maryland5 years$5,000Felony3 years
Massachusetts5 years$5,000Felony6 years
Michigan5 years$1,000Misdemeanor6 years
Minnesota1 year$3,000Misdemeanor2 years
Mississippi5 years$5,000Felony3 years
Missouri5 years$7,500Felony3 years
Montana1 year$1,000Misdemeanor3 years
Nebraska5 years$10,000Felony3 years
Nevada4 years$5,000Felony4 years
New Hampshire7 years$5,000Felony3 years
New Jersey5 years$15,000Felony5 years
New Mexico3 years$5,000Felony4 years
New York7 years$5,000Felony5 years
North Carolina1 year$1,000Misdemeanor3 years
North Dakota5 years$10,000Felony5 years
Ohio6 months$1,000Misdemeanor2 years
Oklahoma1 year$1,000Misdemeanor2 years
Oregon1 year$6,250Misdemeanor3 years
Pennsylvania7 years$10,000Felony2 years
Rhode Island5 years$5,000Felony5 years
South Carolina5 years$5,000Felony3 years
South Dakota5 years$10,000Felony3 years
Tennessee1 year$2,500Misdemeanor2 years
Texas10 years$10,000Felony3 years
Utah1 year$2,500Misdemeanor2 years
Vermont5 years$10,000Felony3 years
Virginia1 year$2,500Misdemeanor5 years
Washington3 years$5,000Misdemeanor3 years
West Virginia1 year$1,000Misdemeanor3 years
Wisconsin6 years$10,000Felony5 years
Wyoming3 years$7,500Felony4 years

Minor Hit And Run Charges

Hit and run charges are considered minor if there:

  • is no damage to the property
  • are not any injuries sustained by any person as a result of the incident

Hit And Run Death Charges

Hit and run death charges vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Hit and run death charges can range from involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide.

All the way up to leaving the scene of an accident involving a death.

These are a felony in most jurisdictions.

Penalties for hit and run death charges can include:

  • jail time
  • fines
  • the suspension of a driver’s license

How Much Is A Hit And Run Ticket?

A hit and run ticket will get you:

  • up to $1,000 if there were injuries
  • up to $5,000 if there was a death

This is JUST the ticket that law enforcement issues you.

These are separate from the court fines mentioned above.

You can get a ticket, fines, and jail time for hit and runs.

What Is The Fine For A Hit And Run?

The fines for a hit and run are:

  • up to $2,500 if there were injuries
  • up to $10,000 if there was a death

If you hit two people, you will owe fines for EACH person you hit.

If you kill two people, you’ll have to pay $20,000 in fines.

Penalty For Hit And Run With No Injuries

The penalty for a hit and run with no injuries is:

  • misdemeanor
  • up to $2,500 in fines
  • up to 1 year in jail

Reporting A Hit And Run Accident

In this section, you’ll learn about:

  • how to report a hit and run
  • what to do when you’re involved in a hit and run
  • what the police will do
  • what information to gather for your insurance company
  • what evidence you’ll need to convict someone of hit and run

How To Report A Hit And Run

  1. Contact The Police: call 911 and give them information about the accident (i.e., the location, time, vehicle descriptions, and any identifying information about the suspect)
  2. Call Your Insurance Company: give them information about the accident (i.e., photos, police statements, and witness statements)
  3. File A Report With The DMV: give them the time, location, vehicle descriptions, and any identifying information about the suspect. This will help with insurance and legal claims later on.
  4. Call An Attorney: your accident lawyer can give you legal advice and representation, negotiate with the other party or their insurance company, and get you properly compensated for damages and losses.

Fill out the form on this page to get a free consultation with our law firms.

We handle both:

  • the defense of someone committing a hit and run with our dedicated defense lawyers
  • the representation of someone with personal injuries with our accident lawyers

What To Do In A Hit And Run Accident

Someone just hit you and left the scene of the accident.

Your next steps should be to:

  1. Immediately check yourself and any passengers for injuries and call 911 if necessary.
  2. If you are able, move your vehicle to a safe place, such as the side of the road.
  3. Call the police and provide them with as much information as possible.
  4. Take photos and document the date and time of the incident.
  5. File a police report and provide any photos taken.
  6. Obtain contact information from any witnesses.
  7. File an insurance claim with either your own company or the other driver’s.
  8. Fill out the form on this page to determine your rights and options.

What Do The Police Do In A Hit And Run?

Police will investigate the accident scene, looking for:

  • tire skid marks
  • vehicle debris
  • vehicle parts

They use this information to figure out the car’s make and model.

Then, they will talk to the witnesses of the accident.

If possible, they will look at local surveillance footage.

Once they find the driver, they will issue an arrest warrant for them.

Reporting To Your Insurance Provider

Your insurance company will need information like:

  • date
  • time
  • location
  • a description of the vehicle involved
  • if you sustained any injuries

You’ll need to give your insurance company medical records if you sustained personal injuries.

This will show them:

  • what injuries have you sustained
  • the medical bills for those injuries
  • related expenses to your medical care

Your personal injury lawyer will also need this information.

What Evidence Is Needed To Convict A Hit And Run?

The evidence that you need to convict a hit and run are that the accused person:

  • was involved in an accident
  • was aware of the accident
  • intentionally left the scene without helping or giving contact information

This evidence can include things like:

  • witness statements
  • tire skid marks
  • missing car parts
  • photos of their car missing said parts
  • surveillance footage
  • damaged property
  • evidence of serious bodily injuries

It’s the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that the person committed hit and run.

How To Fight A Hit And Run Charge

Let’s talk about your defense strategy against a hit and run.

And legal defenses for how to beat your criminal charges.

How To Beat A Hit And Run Charge

You need to work with your criminal defense lawyer to come up with a strong defense strategy.

They will review your evidence and tailor a defense to your case.

Our attorneys can challenge evidence and surface weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

(i.e., There not being evidence that proves your guilt without a reasonable doubt.)

They can also reduce the severity of your criminal charges under local laws.

The steps you need to take to beat a hit and run charge are:

  1. Immediately contact a criminal defense attorney.
  2. Gather evidence and eyewitness testimony that could help your case.
  3. Investigate any mitigating factors that could reduce or eliminate the charge.
  4. Carefully review all documents related to the case.
  5. Prepare for court by attending to every detail of your defense.
  6. Present your case in court and argue for the best possible outcome.

Defenses Against Hit And Run Charges

The defenses that we can use to protect you in a hit and run case are:

  • Lack of Knowledge: you were unaware of the accident and that you caused property damage, personal injury, or death.
  • Necessity: you were forced to leave the scene to avoid a worse outcome.
  • Mistake of Fact: you reasonably believed you were not at fault or the damage was minor.
  • Insanity: you lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature of the accident.
  • Intoxication (DUI): you were too intoxicated to understand the consequences of leaving the scene.
  • Duress: you were forced to leave the scene of the accident under the threat of harm.
  • Coercion: you were pressured to leave by another person.
  • False Accusations: you were falsely accused and leaving was the only way to avoid being falsely arrested.

Fill out the form on this page to get a free consultation with our hit and run lawyers.

We have the experience you need to defend yourself in a hit and run case.

FAQs About Hit And Run Charges

These are the most common questions we get from our hit and run clients.

Is Hit And Run A Crime?

Yes, hit and runs are a crime that get you either a misdemeanor or felony charges.

If you injure or kill someone, you’ll get felony charges.

If you just cause minor property damage, you’ll get a misdemeanor.

Is Hit And Run A Misdemeanor?

Yes, a hit and run is, at minimum, a misdemeanor charge.

Is A Hit And Run A Felony?

A hit and run is a felony if you injure or kill someone.

Can You Go To Jail For A Hit And Run?

Yes, you can go to jail for a hit and run.

You can go to jail for:

  • up to 1 year for property damages
  • up to 5 years for causing someone severe injuries
  • up to 15 years for causing a death

What Are The Hit And Run Charges For A Parked Car?

The charges for a hit and run on a parked car are normally:

  • a misdemeanor
  • up to $2,500 in fines
  • up to 1 year in jail

If I Committed A Hit And Run How Long Will It Take The Police To Find Me?

It depends on the amount of evidence the police have.

They can find you in a few hours if they have your license plate number.

It could take a few weeks if they don’t have any information.

How Long Before Police Stop Investigating A Hit And Run?

Police will normally continue a hit and run investigation until they find the culprit.

They will extend their investigations for months.

But, there are statutes of limitations.

Check the table earlier in this article to see the statute of limitations in your state.

How Long After Hit And Run Will Police Contact You?

It’s impossible to say how long it will take for the police to contact you after a hit and run.

How long it takes the police to reach out to you will depend on:

  • the severity of the incident
  • the amount of information the police have to identify the suspect

They can find the suspect in a few hours if they have your license plate number.

It could take a few weeks if they don’t have any information on them.

Hiring A Hit And Run Lawyer

If you are facing a conviction of hit and run, fill out the form on this page.

Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience you need to defend your rights.

This way, you don’t:

  • get wrongfully convicted
  • spend decades in jail needlessly
  • never see your family or loved ones again
  • get wrongfully accused by police officers

You deserve a fair trial in the criminal justice system.

We can provide you with that.

Talk soon.

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