In most cases, when a person thinks of a car accident they think of the personal injury implications. They may think about who is going to pay for damages and injuries, and whether or not their insurance is going to go up. However, in some cases, such as hit and run accidents, criminal charges can be brought.
Keep reading to learn more about hit and run accidents (including DUI hit and run accidents) and then contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 if you are in need of a free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Typical Elements of Hit and Run Accidents
A hit and run crime is unique in that it about the aftermath of the accident, and not the cause of the accident. Typical elements involved in a hit and run accident involve a driver who was involved at an accident and filed to:
- Stop at the scene and / or
- Provide ID and / or
- Offer assistance to injured parties.
Though hit and runs most commonly involve two vehicles, they can also involve cars striking pedestrians, bikes, parked cars, or other property.
Is it Still Illegal if There is No One Around?
While it’s easy to see why it’s illegal to hit a car and speed off, what happens when the property a driver strikes is unattended and they cannot find the owner? In this case, the driver must leave a note that includes their contact information. In order to be found guilty of a hit and run, the prosecution must prove the following about the defendant:
- They had knowledge. If a driver hits something and is unaware of it, then they cannot be held criminally responsible. That said, it is very difficult to establish that a driver struck an object hard enough to do damage and was not aware of the collision.
- The accident occurred on public property. Though there are exceptions, for the most part a person can only be convicted of a hit and run if the accident occurred on a public road or other public land.
Note, however, that the prosecution does not have to prove:
- Fault. A driver does not have to be at fault for an accident to be guilty of a hit and run. Even if the accident was someone else’s fault, the driver must still stop, provide ID, and render aid when necessary.
- That they were driving. Even a passenger can be held responsible for a hit and run. For example, if the passenger takes over after the driver strikes someone, the passenger could then face criminal charges.
Are the rules regarding hit and runs confusing? Do you have questions about any charges you are facing? If so, contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre now at 800-572-1252 to request your free legal consultation.