Fear is a motivating factor in many crimes. When the shock of striking another vehicle or another person is high, the poor decision to escape causes many to flee the scene. When the investigation leads to a charge, the person involved will sadly learn his fearful escape will lead to expensive and serious penalties if convicted. Like most crimes, there are four different levels of hit and run in Washington. An experienced criminal defense attorney is the cornerstone of a good defense.
The four levels of hit and run are: Hit and Run Attended; Hit and Run Unattended; Hit and Run Injury; and Hit and Run Fatality. Each outlines a different set of designations and penalties.
Washington Hit and Run Unattended
This Hit and Run means a driver strikes an unattended vehicle and leaves the scene without locating the owner to report the accident, or leaves without leaving a note in a noticeable place on the vehicle. This crime is a misdemeanor and may be punished with up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. Those who strike objects such as private property, guard rails, fences or other structures may also be charged with this.
Washington Hit and Run Attended
When a driver strikes a vehicle that is occupied by a driver or other passengers and leaves the scene without providing any information, the crime is known as Hit and Run Attended. This offense is a gross misdemeanor that may be punished with a sentence of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. If the driver who “runs” was not at fault, the charge stands.
Washington Hit and Run Injury
When a person is injured in an accident and the driver flees, a Class C Felony is possible if convicted. The maximum punishment is 5 years in prison with a fine of no more than $10,000. In most cases, those convicted of a Hit and Run-Injury are given a standard range prison sentence of three to nine months in the county jail for a person with no criminal record.
Washington Hit and Run Fatality
The most serious of all hit and run crimes is when the accident leads to a death. A Class B Felony offense, the maximum punishment is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The likely range of prison time served in Washington for a hit and run death is between 30 and 40 months in prison.
Hit and run charges can lead to license suspensions, jail time, costly fines, and the costly requirement for high-risk insurance. There may be accompanying charges if the police learn DUI or reckless driving were involved. If you are facing charges like these, your future is at stake. Call Steve Karimi today to discuss your options.