When a driver crashes their vehicle into another vehicle and then flees the scene, this is considered a hit and run. In Washington State, a Hit and Run is considered a criminal offense.
Consequences are significant and may include jail time, fines, restitution for injury or property damage, increased insurance costs, and the long-term impact of a criminal record.
Washington State law differentiates between Attended and Unattended Hit & Run offenses:
HIT AND RUN – UNATTENDED:
- This is the lowest level of Hit and Run, and under Washington law is considered a misdemeanor. Washington’s Hit and Run Unattended statute is RCW 46.52.10
- When a driver collides with an unattended vehicle, they are required to immediately stop and locate the owner or leave a written note (including their name and address) in a conspicuous place if the driver cannot be located.
- The crime of Hit and Run of an Unattended Vehicle occurs when a driver leaves the scene without giving the owner of the vehicle their contact information.
- Penalties for a Hit and Run of an Unattended Vehicle may include 0-90 days in jail and a fine of 0-$1,000. Being convicted of this crime does not trigger a driver’s license suspension but may trigger suspension of a Commercial Driver’s License and insurance premiums are likely to increase.
HIT AND RUN – ATTENDED:
- When a driver in Washington State strikes another vehicle that is occupied, they are required to stop immediately and provide the other driver with the following information: name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license information.
- If a driver flees the scene and fails to stop and exchange information, it could result in a conviction of a Hit and Run of an Attended Vehicle, which is a gross misdemeanor. Washington’s Hit and Run Attended statute is RCW 46.52.020.
- Penalties may include up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. Being convicted of this crime will trigger a 1-year driver’s license suspension.
- An experienced attorney can advise you more specifically of what you could be facing on your Hit and Run of an Attended Vehicle case and help you get the best possible resolution.
- If a driver is in an accident where injury or death occurs:
- He/she is required by law to stop the vehicle immediately and offer assistance to the injured party, including arranging for transportation to the hospital.
- The driver must also provide name, address, insurance information, and driver’s license information.
- If the driver leaves the scene of an accident when a person is injured, it is considered a class C felony. If the driver leaves the scene after causing a person’s death, he/she may be charged with a class B felony. Either felony conviction could result in significant jail time and financial penalties.
We are well-equipped and highly qualified to fight any Hit and Run case. We will work with diligence and expertise to reduce consequences and reach the best possible resolution for you. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf. Please contact us for more information.