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6 Types of Penalties for Hit and Run in 2024

The penalty for a hit and run can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the incident. In general, hit and run is considered a serious offense and can result in significant legal consequences. These can include fines, license suspension or revocation, probation, community service, and even jail time, especially if the accident resulted in injury or death.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a Hit and Run Accident?

According to Wikipedia, in traffic laws, a hit and run or a hit-and-run is the criminal act of causing a traffic collision and not stopping afterwards [1]. It is considered a supplemental crime in most jurisdictions.

What to do After a Hit and Run

In the event of a hit-and-run accident, it is crucial to handle the situation carefully:

  • Stay at the scene to talk to witnesses and the police. Do not follow the fleeing driver, as it could lead to further complications.
  • Call 911 if you are in your car or if someone is injured.
  • Obtain as much information as possible about the driver, car, and accident, including the: license plate number, make, model, and color of the other vehicle; description of damage to the other vehicle (take photos if possible); direction of the other vehicle was headed; photos of the damage to your vehicle; location, date, time, and cause of the accident.
  • Do not delay in calling the police or your insurance company to file a report or claim. The official report will aid in locating the missing driver and will be necessary for your insurance claim.
  • Ask witnesses for additional information and ensure you have their names and contact information.
  • Be cautious and prioritize safety, avoiding any actions that could escalate the situation or put yourself in harm's way.

According to State Farm [2], handling a hit-and-run accident requires diligence and adherence to proper procedures to ensure your safety and protect your rights.

What is the Penalty for a Hit and Run?

The consequences for a hit-and-run offense can vary depending on the state laws and the specifics of the accident, according to Forbes [3]. If you leave the scene of an accident where only property damage occurred, the penalties may be less severe compared to leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries or fatalities.

Potential penalties for violating hit-and-run laws include:

  • Misdemeanor or felony charges
  • Imprisonment
  • Fines
  • Suspension of driver's license
  • Points on driver's license

If law enforcement identifies you as a person who fled a crash scene, prosecutors will likely pursue criminal charges and you could face these or other penalties if you are convicted. A prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were involved in a collision, had an obligation under your state’s laws to remain at the crash scene and fled the scene.

Hit and Run Statistics

  • Between 2012 and 2021, there was a notable increase in fatal hit-and-run incidents. In 2021, there were 2,783 deadly crashes involving hit-and-runs, marking an 89.4% surge from the 1,469 incidents reported in 2012. Concurrently, the overall number of fatal crashes rose by 27.4% over the same period.
  • The percentage of deadly crashes attributed to hit-and-runs also saw a significant rise. In 2021, 7.0% of fatal crashes involved hit-and-runs, reflecting a 48.7% increase from the 4.7% recorded in 2012. This percentage remained consistent with the figures from 2020.
  • California had the highest share of deadly crashes involving a hit-and-run in the past 10 years. The Golden State, at 10.1%, was followed by Nevada (8.5%) and New Mexico (7.8%). At the other end of the list were Wyoming (1.1%), Maine (1.3%), and New Hampshire (1.4%).
  • Notably, fatal hit-and-run incidents were most prevalent during nighttime. Over the 2012-2021 period, 9.5% of deadly nighttime crashes involved hit-and-runs, compared to 2.7% of fatal daytime crashes. Furthermore, approximately 77.3% of all deadly hit-and-runs occurred at night.
  • Regarding the victims, pedestrians were disproportionately affected by fatal hit-and-runs. Analysis shows that over 6 in 10 (62.8%) of these incidents involved pedestrians. This marks a significant increase, with fatal pedestrian deaths in hit-and-runs rising by 53.7% from 2012 through 2021.

According to Valuepenguin Inc. [4].

This decade-long analysis highlights a troubling rise in fatal hit-and-run incidents, with a significant proportion occurring at night and disproportionately affecting pedestrians. The data underscores the urgent need for enhanced safety measures and stricter enforcement to protect vulnerable road users and curb this alarming trend.

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