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Do Police Investigate Minor Hit & Run?
(Civil Compromise Explained)

In most states, the police are only required to investigate hit and run offenses that involve minor injuries and/or property damage.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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Navigating the legal landscape of hit-and-run incidents can be daunting, especially when considering the varying levels of police involvement. Drawing from my years as a seasoned attorney, I've encountered a multitude of cases where the extent of police investigation hinges on factors like the severity of injuries or property damage. 

In one memorable case, a seemingly minor incident in a car led to unexpected legal complexities. In this article, we explain the intricacies of hit-and-run cases and explore the concept of civil compromise. As we explore further, we'll uncover how understanding these nuances can significantly impact the outcome of such legal matters.

Quick Summary

  • The extent of police involvement in hit-and-run cases depends on injury severity and property damage, with investigations taking days to months.
  • Criminal charges in hit-and-run cases can be dismissed if the defendant fully compensates the victim for damages.
  • Hit-and-run incidents must usually be reported within 10 days for injuries or significant damage. Conviction requires substantial evidence, and false accusations can happen without proper proof.

What is a Hit and Run Accident?

A hit-and-run accident offense is defined as the criminal act of causing a traffic collision and not stopping afterward. It is considered a supplemental crime in most jurisdictions.

What Evidence is Needed to Convict a Hit and Run?

The evidence needed to convict a hit-and-run is crucial for prosecutors to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This demanding burden of proof necessitates demonstrating that no other plausible explanation exists for the accident that occurred aside from the defendant's guilt.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Hit and Run?

The amount of time you have to report a hit and run is typically 10 days from the date of the incident in most states. It is mandatory to file a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles if the accident resulted in injuries or caused property damage exceeding $1,000.

Related Article: Hit and Run First Offense

Can Someone Falsely Accuse You of Hit and Run?

Someone can falsely accuse you of a hit and run if your vehicle matches the description of one involved in such an incident, even if it wasn't actually involved. However, without evidence of the scene of an accident on your vehicle, you can demonstrate that it is a false accusation. It's essential to recognize that accident fraud happens, emphasizing the importance of proving the absence of collision evidence.

How Long Does it Take for Police to Investigate a Hit and Run?

The amount of time it takes for police to investigate a hit-and-run accident can take days or even months to complete, depending on the specific details of the case. 

In the worst-case scenario, the police may be unable to identify the hit-and-run driver.

Related Article: Hit and Run Investigation Process California

"Civil Compromise" in Hit and Run Cases

Criminal charges in certain hit-and-run cases may be dismissed if you take responsibility for all the expenses of the accident. This is known as a "civil compromise," and if you meet all the requirements, the court has the discretion to dismiss criminal charges against you.

This means you will be required to compensate the injured crash victim for all of their damages. After you make payment in full, the injured victim could appear in court and tell the judge you have paid all the relevant expenses and request that the charges be dismissed.

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