Imagine being rattled by a traffic accident, heart pounding, and adrenaline coursing through your veins, only to watch as the other driver callously speeds away without acknowledging their fault.

We understand – this can be an infuriatingly unjust situation that leaves you feeling bewildered and stranded. Our research reveals that thousands of drivers like you face the harsh reality of hit-and-run incidents each year.

Armed with empathy and expertise, we’ve crafted this guide to help navigate these choppy waters, outlining the laws, shedding light on penalties surrounding such escapades, and giving clear steps on what to do if you’re ever ensnared in one or what to do when faced with hit and run charges.

Understanding Hit-And-Run Incidents

A hit-and-run incident is when a driver in an accident leaves the scene without stopping to provide necessary information or assistance.

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Definition of Hit-And-Run

A hit-and-run refers to any accident where a driver intentionally leaves the scene without providing their details. This type of traffic incident typically occurs when one vehicle collides with another, a person, or even property and then flees prior to exchanging information or ensuring all parties are safe.

Notably, under the California Vehicle Code § 20002, this act is considered illegal. For prosecutors to secure a guilty verdict on hit and run charges, they must prove beyond reasonable doubt that someone intended to evade responsibility by leaving the scene of an accident.

Evidence for such cases often includes witness testimonies and physical clues left at the scene. Whether it’s classified as a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense depends on circumstances like the severity of damage and injury caused.

Reasons Why Drivers Leave the Scene

People often leave the scene of hit-and-run accidents due to a wide array of reasons. The most common cause is fear; the immediate dread and anxiety that accompany an accident can be overwhelming, prompting individuals to flee instead of facing potential legal penalties.

This fear often stems from anticipating severe consequences such as hefty fines, prison time, or revoking their license.

Another prevalent reason for fleeing hits right at the heart of legality – unlicensed driving or impaired driving. Some drivers may not hold a valid license or might be under the influence when they get into an accident.

In these scenarios, staying at the scene could lead to more serious offenses being uncovered by law enforcement officials besides just causing an accident. Hence, in order to evade detection and even more stringent punishment, these individuals choose escape over confession.

Penalties for Hit-And-Run Convictions

Hit-and-run convictions can result in serious consequences, including criminal penalties such as imprisonment and fines, administrative penalties like driver’s license suspension and points on your driving record, as well as civil penalties that may include paying for damages and victim compensation.

Criminal Penalties

Criminal penalties for hit-and-run offenses carry hefty consequences that extend beyond immediate punishments. 

Individuals convicted may serve jail time as part of their sentencing and often see their driving privileges stripped away through license suspension or revocation. These charges not only mark a person’s criminal record but also leave a lasting impact on many aspects of life, even after serving the punishment.

Administrative Penalties

In Ohio, hit-and-run accidents carry administrative penalties. If you are involved in a hit-and-run and are found guilty, your driver’s license may be affected. It is important to understand that each state has its own laws and penalties surrounding hit-and-run accidents, so the consequences can vary.

Civil Penalties

Convictions for hit-and-run offenses can result in civil penalties. These penalties are separate from the criminal charges and can have serious consequences. The specific civil penalties vary depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the offense, but they often include fines that the offender must pay.

In some cases, hit-and-run offenders may also be required to provide restitution to their victims to compensate them for any damages or injuries caused. 

Impact on Car Insurance

Being involved in a hit-and-run incident can significantly impact your car insurance. If you are convicted of a hit-and-run, insurance companies may classify you as a high-risk driver. This classification could result in substantially higher car insurance rates.

What To Do if Involved in a Hit-And-Run

If you find yourself involved in a hit-and-run, taking immediate action is crucial to protect yourself and others. From contacting the authorities to gathering evidence, learn the steps you can take by reading more.

Steps To Take as a Victim

As victims of a hit-and-run accident, after the incident, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road as soon as possible to ensure safety.

Once stopped, carefully assess the damage done to your vehicle and any other property involved.

Documenting this damage by taking clear photos from different angles is essential.

Steps To Take if You Were Involved and Left the Scene

If you were involved in a hit-and-run incident and left the scene, there are important steps you should take.

First, contact a criminal defense attorney for legal representation as soon as possible. They can guide you through the process and help protect your rights.

Additionally, collect any evidence from the scene that may be helpful in proving your case, such as photographs or videos.

Remember to notify law enforcement about the incident and provide them with all relevant information. 

Reporting the Incident

If you are involved in a hit-and-run incident, it is vital to report the incident immediately. Notify the police and call 911 to provide them with all the necessary details. Reporting the incident helps law enforcement in their search for the missing driver and can be useful when filing an accident claim.

Failing to report a crash can result in criminal charges and conviction penalties for hit and run California. By reporting the incident promptly, you not only fulfill your legal requirements but also contribute to providing aid to any injured parties involved in the accident.


In conclusion, hit and run incidents can have serious legal consequences. Individuals may face hefty fines and potential jail time, depending on the circumstances. Victims and those involved in a hit-and-run should immediately report the incident to law enforcement.

By understanding the laws and penalties surrounding hit-and-run accidents, we can work towards safer roads for everyone.

Facing hit and run charges? Contact David L. Faulkner for help. He is a skilled and experienced lawyer who can help you with your hit-and-run case.

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