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When you are in a car accident, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and tempted to flee the scene, but leaving the scene of an accident is a serious traffic offense — and a crime. Hit-and-runs in Ohio are taken incredibly seriously, whether you are at fault for the crash or not.
No matter the circumstances of the crash, drivers are required by Ohio law to stay on the scene of the accident with the other person until police arrive or they exchange information with the other driver. If you crash into a stationary object, such as a parked car or someone’s property, you are required to leave your identifying information so that the person can contact you later or inform police within 24 hours.
If you do not do these things, you may find yourself in serious trouble with law enforcement. Police investigate these crimes in depth by asking potential witnesses for information and searching for video footage.
It’s easy to assume that you may get away with a hit-and-run, especially if you think no one saw the accident or the damage was not severe, but the truth is that many drivers are caught and end up facing much more expensive consequences than what it would have cost to simply pay the damage.
A hit-and-run or “hit-skip” is taken quite seriously. Not only can you get typically penalties of a traffic offense, including points on your license and an administrative fine, but you can face criminal charges. If you leave the scene of an accident where someone else is seriously injured, it is a felony offense. You face:
Of course, not all people leaving the scene of an accident hit people or other cars. If no one is injured in the hit-and-run accident, you’ll be charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor. This is still a crime, though, and you face a sentence of up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $500.
Many hit-and-run accidents that involve more than one car have even worse consequences, though. Law enforcement consider these hit-skips “DUIs in disguise.” Police, prosecutors, and judges assume that leaving the scene was an attempt to save themselves from worse consequences than simply leaving an accident. They attribute the poor choice to drive off after the accident to being intoxicated and not wanting to get caught for a DUI.
Even if this is not true, detectives will pursue this line of investigation aggressively, so you should be prepared to fight these charges with the help of a Columbus criminal defense attorney. Police will be compiling evidence against you for both the DUI and the failure to stop, which means that you need to be prepared to establish reasonable doubt that you were involved or at least intoxicated.
If you’ve been accused of leaving the scene of the accident or failure to stop, you are facing very serious charges. Luckily, our experienced Columbus traffic attorneys can help you fight these charges and, depending on the circumstances, may be able to establish reasonable doubt that you were even involved.
Call the Columbus traffic attorneys at Luftman, Heck, and Associates today at for a free consultation on your hit-and-run case. Your traffic lawyer will be by your side during every interaction with law enforcement to protect your rights, and they will work tirelessly to get your case the best outcome possible. Find out how your Columbus traffic lawyer can help.