What outcome should I expect after being charged with a hit and run? 39 Answers as of July 03, 2013

I hit a parked vacant car 100 feet from my apartment. The next day I had called my insurance and reported the accident. My insurance paid for the vehicle's damages, but because I did not report the accident immediately, I am being charged for a hit and run by local law enforcement. What can I expect in court?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
It depends on how and what you are ultimately charged with. I'd recommend you retain a lawyer or request the court appoint you a lawyer when you are arraigned. If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, the first step will be either a ticket or warrant issued for your arrest. The next step will be an arraignment. Assuming you plead not guilty or stand mute and have the court enter a plea of not guilty, the next stage depends on the whether the charge is a felony or misdemeanor and the particular scheduling policies of your particular court. I would never recommend pleading guilty at any arraignment unless you have the advice of council. If a person has prior felony convictions and if they are charged with another felony, they could be charged as a habitual offender, substantially increasing their possible jail or prison time for a conviction. If a person has prior convictions for the same type of offense, the underlying offense may be punishable by increased penalties and jail/prison time. Ultimately, possible consequences depend on what a person is actually charged with, the strength of the prosecutor's case, local policies and practices, and a litany of other factors.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/29/2011
Law Offices of Kate Mesic, PA
Law Offices of Kate Mesic, PA | Kate L. Mesic
This in offense of Leaving the Scene of an Accident, which is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. I would suggest that when you go to court, you bring proof of restitution, and that you already took care of it. I would suggest you get a lawyer, who can preemptively contact the State Attorney's Office to see if this can be resolved with a diversion program or dropped, as long as you show proof of restitution.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/28/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Hit & run as you have defined it is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/23/2011
Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
Expect the cops to be called, them to contact you for restitution and hope the DA doesn't turn an FSGI into a DWI. You really need to lawyer up.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 11/21/2011
Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC | Ronald Aronds
Leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious charge that carries a mandatory suspension of your driver's license and very heavy fines if you are convicted.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 11/21/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    As no one was injured you are probably charged with a misdemeanor. You will likely be facing a fine and probation if convicted. You will lose your driving license for a period of not less than 6 months. You should seriously consider legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/18/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Likely probation and a fine if convicted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    When striking a parked car you are required to find the owner and provide him with the proper information or you are required to leave a note on the windshield with your name and contact information. If you do not do this then you have commented a hit and run. The fact that you did contact the owner the next morning and that you have paid for the damages will be a mitigating factor for the DA. In a case like this I would expect the charges to be reduced or dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/18/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You can get up to 93 days in jail and/or a fine. And a record that can not be expunged. Driving offenses are permanent in Michigan. THat is ones that carry possible jail time. Talk to a lawyer maybe the attorney can get it down to a noncriminal offense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/18/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    CA Vehicle Code section 20002, which states in part: "(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following: (1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver's license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties. (2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol." While it seems you were willing to take responsibility, and notify the owner, you must also show you attempted to find the owner and failing to accomplish that, provided written notice of your name and other information with the damaged vehicle. Additionally, you were required to notify the police. If you have a clean record, and because you were insured which allowed the other owner to be made whole, you can always press for a conditional dismissal.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Fines and court costs.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Most likely a fine and court fees.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You can expect to be prosecuted, may have to pay a fine , may have to do some jail time. You could also , under the circumstances not have to do much of anything but stay out of trouble for a while. Depends on the ersonalities of the DA and Judge {a shame but generally a true fact]. The latter may very well depend on not just the quality of legal representation but the fact of it. Hire an attorney. He or she can more likely do better than you standing at the rail accepting whatever little bone the DA wants to throw to you. THe best deas are alsways made when counsel and the judge retire to chambers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Lawsmith, The Law Office of J. Scott Smith
    Lawsmith, The Law Office of J. Scott Smith | J. Scott Smith
    I would get your insurance company to write a letter stating that all claims have been paid referencing that accident and take that to court and show the Assistant District Attorney and ask them to dismiss the charges. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You would be wise to hire legal counsel. Based on the limited facts presented, it would seem that there is a strong argument to be made to stay the prosecution and prevent any criminal conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Leaving the scene of a property damage accident is a misdemeanor. You have the right to an attorney and it would be a good idea to consult with an attorney before going to court. If this is your only offense, jail time is not likely but is possible.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    That's like asking, "what can I expect if I buy this used car?" Every case is specific. I have no details of your case to give you a fair answer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Assuming you record is good and the restitution has been taken care of you are likely looking at probation and a fine.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    In most cases probation, a fine, and a suspended sentence is not out of the question. There may be civil consequences. A lot depends on your criminal history. Talk to an experienced defense attorney or public defender.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    Leaving the scene of property damage has different penalties than leaving the scene of personal injury. It depends on a lot of different factors including, but not limited to your record. As potential penalties you can anywhere from a fine, to probation and worse case jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Leaving the Scene of an Accident is governed by New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 600. Its consequences vary depending on whether anyone was hurt and whether the driver has a prior conviction for the same type offense. Assuming you have no prior incidents of this kind and If the damage is limited to property damage and no one is hurt (people or animals) then the charge is a traffic infraction and NOT a crime. The consequences can still be severe as the maximum punishment is 15 days in jail and $250 fine. It's doubtful that the prosecutor will be seeking jail time on something like you describe.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    If no one was injured, you will probably be charged with hit and run which is a misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and $500 in fines. If you have no priors or driving related incidents, more than likely you will be sentenced to probation. You will face some driver's license sanctions as well.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    This type of offense is usually a misdemeanor level offense punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. If your record is clean you should be able to talk to the prosecutor and resolve your case. Realize that the prosecutor is going to assume that you had been drinking or under the influence and may question you regarding that issue. You should seek legal representation to insulate you from talking and/or giving admissions to anyone.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    A fine, court costs and ask for a withhold of adjudication.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/17/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    In all likelihood, you can expect to get supervision or a dismissal of the charges, just bring all the documentation showing you reported the accident and the fact that they have paid off the owner of the other vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You should hire a lawyer to help you. The fact that you called your insurance immediately and they paid the damages indicates good faith. A skilled lawyer may be able to get you a reduction or dismissal. Hit and run does not look good on your record.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If it was only property damage it is a misdemeanor. If you do not have a criminal record you will be allowed to plead to a misdemeanor or a violation and you will not receive a jail sentence. You should have called an attorney who could have handled the case. You should never talk to the police or to an insurance company without consulting an attorney. That is like treating your own disease or pulling your own teeth. Many people do not realize that lawyers offer a free consultation and will advise you as how to handle a situation even if you cannot afford to retain them. They would least advise you not to confess or admit anything. The biggest mistake people make it to give the police the evidence to convict them and take away all the bargaining power their lawyer would have had since the prosecutor has a slam dunk with any confession. Remember, "Fish only get caught when they open their mouth."
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    It depends on your prosecutor, judge and experience of your retained counsel. If what you write is true, in terms of the chronology of events, I suspect that there will little consequence.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    In Massachusetts the police are likely to file an application for a criminal complaint. You have a right to a hearing on that application. You should hire an attorney for that process.The attorney will attempt to stop the criminal complaint from issuing against you. If the complaint does not issue you will avoid criminal process and avoid a criminal record. The hearing takes place before a clerk not a judge. The most important fact that you described is that you reported the accident to your insurance carrier, that you took responsibility for the accident and that the damage was paid. You should be able to stop the process.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    The fact that your insurance paid for the damage should go a long way towards getting the case dismissed or turning it into a slap on the wrist.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi
    Law Offices of Elliott Zarabi | Elliott Zarabi
    Here is the thing, you are looking at up to 6 months in jail if you are being charged with CA VC 20002(a). However, it sounds like you did all the right things so you may be able to avoid jail and even avoid prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    A violation with a fine, surcharge and a one year conditional discharge.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    This is a serious charge call us for legal representation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Charles Regan Shaw, PLC
    Charles Regan Shaw, PLC | Charles R Shaw
    That doesn't sound like a hit and run, it sounds like you hit a parked car with no party available to report. I hope you have any attorney to defend this apparent baseless charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law
    Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law | Theresa Hofmeister
    There's a large range of what can happen.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Move to disimss the charge pursuant to the compromise of misdemeanor statute.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Basically the court will advise you of the charge. You will enter a plea which should be NOT GUILTY. Then you or your lawyer need to contact the owner of the damaged car and ask if he or she has been fully compensated and is satisfied with that. Then you or your attorney can prepare a Compromise of Misdemeanor for the owner to sign. The court will then dismiss the case. The other significant issue is whether you ever "left the scene" of the accident. Your case should be dismissed if that is true. In the off chance the case isn't dismissed, you should maintain your not guilty plea and make the government prove you guilty. In the worse case, you would have your license suspended for 90 days but jail is unlikely.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/16/2011
    Law Offices of Stephanie Lee Ehrbright, Esq.
    Law Offices of Stephanie Lee Ehrbright, Esq. | Stephanie Lee Ehrbright
    Probably just a fine, but you should ask of you can have what is called a "Misdemeanor Compromise" where since the vehicle damage got paid for they drop the criminal charges against you.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/16/2011
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