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Consequences for Hit and Run in Ohio

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Hit-and-run accidents are treated as a criminal offense in Ohio. That's right. Even though normally accidents are like traffic tickets-two points violations similar to the consequences of a speeding ticket-when you leave the scene, the consequences are more severe. And note that we aren't just talking head on collisions. Even when a driver is suspected of running into an unoccupied vehicle or a building, and then flees the scene, that's a serious misdemeanor in Ohio. Accusations of inflicting injuries before driving off or running away are treated the most seriously, but no charge for what Ohio police officers and prosecutors call "hit skip" can be taken lightly.

Hit and Run With Only Property Damage

Hitting a car in a parking lot without at least leaving a note detailing how the owner can contact you is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor under Ohio law. A conviction on the charge can result in a 6-month jail sentence, criminal fines of up to $1,000, and two points against the perpetrator's driver's license. Yikes.

Hit and Run With Injuries

Leaving the scene of an accident in which someone suffered injuries is considered a fifth-degree felony. And there is no question that being charged with committing a felony is serious. The potential penalties involve serving time in prison (up to a year), fines of up to $2,500, and a driver's license suspension of at least six months. Plus, six points on your driving record.

Hit and Run When Someone Dies

When you're in a traffic accident that results in a death, and you do not stay on scene to provide assistance and speak with police and emergency responders, it's a third-degree felony. Penalties for this type of conviction include up to five years in prison, fines totaling $10,000, and a lengthy driver's license suspension and six points.

Other Charges Possible

A hit-and-skip suspect can also be charged with other offenses as well. These can include any of the following criminal offenses and traffic violations:

  • Vehicular homicide
  • Aggravated vehicular assault
  • Reckless operation
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Lane violation

Consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable Columbus hit-and-run defense attorney about the significance and provability of your case is highly recommended. Prosecutors can and do overcharge suspects, sometimes as part of a strategy to win at least one conviction, or simply to prompt you to plead guilty to a charge, despite having a weak case on the main allegations.

Insurance and Civil Lawsuits

Alleged hit-and-run drivers also face serious collateral consequences, many of which are financially devastating for a family. For instance, being named a defendant in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can subject a person to a lifetime of fiscal hardships; especially since insurance companies rarely cover the entire amount of a large settlement or court judgment. And, declaring bankruptcy or experiencing unemployment due to incarceration cannot discharge you from court-ordered obligations to make compensation following a hit-and-skip case.

A hit & run attorney in Columbus, Ohio is necessary to provide you with the type of representation you really need. This includes questioning police officers and witnesses' abilities to definitively identify the accused person as the at-fault driver, reexamining all the physical and forensic evidence collected by the prosecution, and presenting facts that show the defendant had no reason to know that a collision had taken place.

If you need help with a hit-and-run accident case, call Campbell Law, LLC at (614) 356-8515 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us online at any time.

Image Credit: Creative Commons / scottc320

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