One of the main types of misdemeanor traffic violations is hit and run misdemeanors. Depending on the nature and specifics of the hit and run offense, there are a variety of penalties that can ensue as a result of a hit and run. This, of course, is specific to the class of the hit and run crime, the state in which the crime is committed, as well as a variety of other extenuating factors particular to a specific hit and run case. In this category, what classifies as a hit and run misdemeanor, what differentiates this charge of hit and run from a felony one, as well as the standard range of penalties that might affect a perpetrator of hit and run offenses.
First of all, you may be wondering exactly what a hit and run crime is. A hit and run occurs when an individual operating a vehicle collides into a person or a piece of property, and fails to stop to check for damages. Whether or not a lot of damage has resulted from the accident does not matter in the commission of a crime; the perpetrator must stop to get contact info and appraise the situation. More specifically, when an accident occurs, the criminal must stop their vehicle, report the accident to the police, and immediately exchange contact information and insurance with the other party. If the owner of the property involved in the accident is not around at the time of the accident, it is the duty of the perpetrating individual to make a reasonable effort to notify the owner and give contact information to them, i.e. through the use of a note detailing the situation, to avoid a hit and run charge.
With this in mind, we discuss what makes a hit and run misdemeanor vs. what makes this a hit and run a felony. In most states, the factors that characterize a felony offense are if the accident has caused a death or great bodily harm to another individual. A crime of a lesser charge, on the other hand, most often is characterized as causing harm or damage to another person’s property, such as a parked car; but also includes minor accidents that damage is not necessarily readily apparent through physical damage.
The penalties for these crimes can vary considerably depending upon both the state that hit and run has occurred in as well as what class of hit and run has been committed. While hit and run felonies can carry with them penalties of prison time, license revocation, and heavy fines; misdemeanor hit and runs hit and runs typically are less severe, and carry with them smaller fines, up to 6 months in jail, payment of restitution for property damaged, and license suspension. A lesser charge punishment can, however, very quickly become more severe in punishment if the defendant was also guilty of any of the following in conjunction with the hit and run: alcohol/drug use, having a suspended license, not having insurance, reckless driving, or failure to cooperate with arresting police officer. Moreover, there are a variety of other possible factors specific to the hit and run that could also aggravate the charge, depending on the nature of the crime.