The Hive Law

What Evidence Is Needed To Convict A Hit And Run?

What Evidence Is Needed To Convict A Hit And Run - What Is A Hit And Run - Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs

What evidence is needed to convict a hit and run?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • hit and run charges, penalties, jail time, and fines
  • each type of evidence needed to convict a hit and run
  • the challenges of evidence for a hit and run
  • what evidence leads to the most convictions
  • what evidence isn’t that great
  • what evidence you need to gather

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

The Hive Law Has Been Featured In

Don’t let a hit and run charge ruin your future. Our law firm can provide the experienced legal representation you need. Contact us now to find out how we can help.

Get A FREE Consultation!

We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

Key Statistics For Evidence For Hit And Runs

  • 71% of hit and run cases go unsolved.
  • Witness testimonies are used in 66.7% of cases that are solved.
  • 43% of hit and runs happen within 1 mile of the driver’s home.
  • License plate numbers are the most reliable form of evidence.
  • 2% of hit and runs are by uninsured motorists.
  • 18% of hit and run accidents involve alcohol.
  • 65% of hit and run deaths are cyclists and pedestrians.
  • 2,000+ people per year die from hit and runs.
  • Hit and run crashes account for 11% of all crashes.

Introduction To Evidence Needed To Convict Hit And Runs

In this section, you’ll learn about:

  • what a hit and run is
  • what are the hit and run charges
  • the penalties for hit and runs (jail time, fines, etc.)
  • hit and run laws

What Is A Hit And Run?

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 auto accident

Contact information is things like:

  • name
  • phone numbers
  • driver’s license number
  • insurance information
  • make, model, and license plate number of your vehicle

Hit And Run Charges

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.

Misdemeanor hit and runs happen when you:

  • leave the scene of an accident
  • don’t provide reasonable assistance to the other people
  • don’t give contact info, like insurance information

Felony hit and runs happen when you:

  • cause an injury or death
  • commit the misdemeanor actions listed above

Felony hit and runs are more serious than misdemeanor hit and runs.

It’s a felony 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 auto accident

Contact information is things like:

  • name
  • phone numbers
  • driver’s license number
  • insurance information
  • make, model, and license plate number of your vehicle

Hit And Run Penalties

Hit and run penalties vary, depending on:

  • the severity of the accident
  • the damage caused
  • the state laws
  • the driver’s previous criminal charges
  • the victim’s injuries
  • the driver’s intent
  • the driver’s ability to pay
  • the driver’s cooperation with law enforcement

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.

But you can also face civil penalties from a personal injury attorney.

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)

Hit And Run Laws

Drivers are required to remain at the scene of the accident.

Per hit and run laws, 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.

What Do Police Do In A Hit And Run?

Police will investigate the accident and collect evidence like:

  • witness statements
  • video surveillance
  • physical evidence

They will also:

  • identify suspects
  • examine the scene of the accident
  • review applicable traffic laws

They will issue a citation or make an arrest, if possible.

What Evidence Is Needed To Convict A Hit And Run?

The evidence needed to convict a hit and run is:

  • witness testimonies
  • surveillance video of the hit and run accident
  • physical evidence from the scene (i.e., skid marks, broken glass, paint, or debris)
  • photographs of the scene of the accident
  • statements from any people involved
  • damaged vehicle parts
  • police reports
  • medical records if there were any injuries
  • the culprits’ license plate number
  • reports from the insurance company

Witness Testimonies

Witness testimonies are key evidence for hit and run convictions.

They provide important information about the accident, like:

  • what time the hit and run accident happened
  • descriptions of the vehicle
  • the direction that the car left the scene
  • descriptions of the hit and run driver

Law enforcement uses this information to corroborate evidence.

Witness testimonies are used in 66.7% of cases that are solved.

Without witness testimonies, most hit and runs go unsolved.

Surveillance Video

Surveillance provides records of the accident that are:

  • unbiased
  • accurate and in real-time
  • proof without any reasonable doubt

Surveillance can capture:

  • the moment of impact between the cars
  • the speed of the cars
  • the direction of travel
  • the type of vehicles involved in the hit and run
  • license plate numbers
  • witnesses of the accident
  • the timeline of the accident

Surveillance is powerful evidence for a hit and run conviction.

It provides clear and detailed evidence to convict the driver.

This helps build a criminal case against the at-fault driver.

Photographs Of The Scene Of The Accident

Photographs of the scene of the accident are very important.

They provide evidence for the hit and run convictions, like:

  • the layout of the scene of the accident
  • the location of the vehicles
  • skid marks
  • vehicle debris and parts

Photographic evidence also provides information like:

  • time of the day
  • weather conditions
  • traffic conditions

Photographs can help:

  • identify potential suspects or witnesses
  • corroborate witness statements and other evidence

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence for a hit and run accident includes:

  • skid marks
  • broken glass
  • paint or debris
  • photographs of the scene of an accident
  • damaged vehicle parts
  • medical records (medical treatments, bills, etc.)
  • property damage

Skid marks can help to prove that the driver

  • was speeding
  • had to take emergency evasive action

Police officers can identify a make and models of a vehicle with:

  • broken glass
  • paint
  • debris
  • damages parts

Damaged vehicle parts will help police:

  • indicate the speed of the vehicle
  • determine if it’s the car that caused the accident

Medical records show what serious injuries were sustained.

All of this circumstantial evidence can be used to:

  • show that a hit and run accident occurred
  • identify the hit and run driver
  • identify the involved vehicle

Statements From The Victims Of A Hit And Run

Statements from victims of hit and runs are very important.

They help convict the hit and run driver.

Like other evidence for a hit and run, statements tell:

  • the make, model, and color of the car
  • how fast did they think the car was going
  • the direction the car was traveling
  • what happened immediately before and after the wreck

Statements corroborate other evidence like:

  • video footage
  • police reports
  • physical evidence

These statements also provide insights into:

  • the victims’ emotional state
  • the psychological impact of the hit and run
  • the recklessness or negligence of the driver

Damaged Vehicle Parts

Damaged vehicle parts are important evidence for hit and runs convictions.

This section refers to parts from the car that did the hit and run.

These include things like broken:

  • headlights
  • taillights
  • mirrors
  • bumpers

This gives evidence the car was involved in a hit and run.

Which helps with the conviction of a hit and run charge.

They also show the severity of the hit and run accident.

Studying these damaged vehicle parts shows:

  • how fast the car was going
  • the direction of travel
  • the make and model of the vehicle

Police Reports

Police reports provide an official record of the incident.

Law enforcement will document:

  • the scene of an accident
  • witness statements
  • damaged parts
  • physical evidence
  • photos of the scene of the accident
  • the timeline of events

Medical Records

Medical records confirm the extent of injuries sustained.

These medical records include:

  • medical bills
  • doctor’s reports
  • photographs of the injured person’s injuries
  • medical treatments

These can also be evidence for a personal injury case.

You can sue the driver who hit you and run if there are injuries.

Fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.

Our car accident lawyers can get you compensated for your:

  • bodily injuries
  • missed time at work
  • increase in insurance policy rates
  • disabilities
  • medical treatments
  • medical bills

License Plate Numbers

License plate numbers help identify the at-fault driver.

A license plate number helps the police:

  • track down the driver of the car
  • identify the make and model of the car
  • track the car’s movement prior to the accident

Burden Of Proof

The burden of proof is a duty to prove their claim or defense.

Depending on the state, the burden of proof is either:

  • the plaintiff proving the driver was at fault
  • the defendant proving they were not at fault

Ask your defense lawyer what your state’s burden of proof is.

But, let’s say that it’s the plaintiff’s burden in your state.

The plaintiff would have to provide evidence like:

  • witness testimony
  • video footage
  • medical records
  • photographs
  • etc.

The plaintiff would have to establish that the driver is at fault.

Our criminal defense attorneys can help you build your case.

Just fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.

Challenges With The Evidence Needed For A Conviction

Gathering evidence is difficult for a hit and run case.

And connecting a suspect to a vehicle is difficult.

Let’s say that the suspect didn’t own the car.

Police will not have a record of ownership for the suspect.

It’ll be tough for the police to:

  • locate the suspect
  • prove their involvement in the accident

But let’s say that the police were able to locate the car.

They still have to prove that the driver was aware that:

  • there was an accident
  • they failed to stop and help
  • they failed to provide information

The Difficulty Of Gathering Evidence

There is often no physical evidence, like:

  • tire marks
  • broken glass
  • damaged vehicle parts

This makes it impossible to identify the vehicle involved.

Unreliable Witnesses

The reliability of witnesses poses a challenge for convictions.

Reliability is difficult to assess for convictions of hit and runs.

Especially if there is no video or physical evidence or corroborate it.

Witness testimonies may not be convincing enough for a conviction.

This is because a witness may have:

  • unreliable memory due to trauma
  • been too far away from the accident
  • a personal bias
  • a personal vendetta against the accused
  • been influenced by media coverage

Limitations Of Physical Evidence

Limitations of physical evidence are that:

  • it’s difficult to identify the suspect
  • there could be a lack of eyewitness testimonies

In many hit and runs, the only physical evidence is:

  • tire tracks
  • damaged vehicle parts

This can only do so much to convict someone of a hit and run.

It can tell prosecutors the type of vehicle.

But it can’t identify the driver.

And it can’t tell them WHICH vehicle was involved.

Let’s say they find a headlight from a 2020 Toyota 4Runner.

There are hundreds or thousands of these in your city.

So, it doesn’t tell the police where to go to find the one in the wreck.

Do Police Investigate Minor Hit And Runs?

Yes, police investigate minor hit and runs.

The thoroughness of the investigation depends on:

Hiring A Hit And Run Lawyer

Are you or a loved one facing a conviction of hit and run?

Fill out the form on this page for:

  • a free consultation
  • legal advice on your defense strategy

Our experienced attorneys know how 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.

Our law firm can provide you with that.

Talk soon.

Get A FREE Consultation!

We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

Share This Post With Someone Who Needs To See It