Puyallup Hit & Run
When accidents cause either personal injury or property damage, individuals are required by law to stop and notify law enforcement. If a driver fails to do so, he or she has engaged in a hit-and-run accident.
Mistakes happen. Car crashes are terrifying events. Your fight-or-flight mechanism may have caused you to become afraid and panic, especially if something like this has never happened to you before. Panicking immediately after a crash often causes a person to flee, even if they know running from the crash is against the law. If that sounds like you, know that you are not alone.
If you have been involved in a hit & run accident and you are not sure what to do, contact our Puyallup hit & run defense attorneys to help you get through this very stressful time. Our firm of dedicated legal professionals will answer any questions you may have, such as
- Can I be charged with hit & run for hitting a parked car or mailbox in Puyallup?
- What are the consequences of a hit & run conviction in Pierce County?
- Do I need a lawyer to fight hit & run charges in Puyallup?
- Will I lose my driver’s license if I’m convicted of hit & run in Washington State?
We can also help you determine what the best course of action would be in your case. From dealing with the authorities wanting to talk to you to advising you how to deal with getting your car back. Having an experienced hit & run attorney deal with the reality of your situation will be extremely helpful in reducing the impact this charge will have on your life.
We have designed this website to provide some general knowledge about hit & run charges in Pierce County, however, it is no substitute for legal counsel. If you have questions about the specifics of your hit & run charge, please contact our Puyallup criminal defense attorneys today for a free case evaluation.Hit & Run Charges & Penalties Explained by a Pierce County Defense Attorney
Washington state law requires any driver involved in an accident to stop if the accident caused property damage, someone sustained an injury, or someone died. State law does not differentiate between public roads, public highways, or private roads; every person must perform the duties imposed by state statute. Those duties include:
- Immediately stopping at the accident scene;
- Identifying yourself by showing a driver license;
- Giving your home address, phone number, and insurance information;
- Identifying anyone involved in the crash if someone died or sustained an injury; and
- Rendering any reasonable aid such as calling emergency services.
There are 4 levels of hit & run charges in Washington state:
- Unattended hit and run - State law RCW 46.52.010 is pretty straightforward. “(1) The operator of any vehicle which collided with any other vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice, giving the name and address of the operator and of the owner of the vehicle striking such other vehicle.
(2) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property fixed or placed upon or adjacent to any public highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property” This is the lowest hit & run charge in Pierce County, and is considered a simple misdemeanor. Simple Misdemeanors are generally adjudicated at the Puyallup Municipal Court, located on Main street in Puyallup. If convicted of a simple misdemeanor in Pierce County, punishments could include
- Up to 90 days in jail
- Fines up to $1,000
- Hit and run of an attended vehicle- This is charged when a driver operates a vehicle and strikes another car that is occupied. It does not matter if the person occupying the car is uninjured, the accident-causing driver will still be charged with Hit & Run of an attended vehicle. Hit & run attended is charged as a gross misdemeanor in Pierce County. Most gross misdemeanor charges will be adjudicated at the Pierce County District Court, which is located in Tacoma. If convicted of a gross misdemeanor in Pierce County, punishments could include
- Up to 364 days in jail
- Fines up to $5,000
- Revocation of your driver’s license by the DOL for 1 year
- Injury-causing hit and run- A driver is required to return to the scene of any traffic crash that results in injury to render assistance, provide relevant personal information and produce a valid driver’s license and insurance information. A driver can be arrested for this charge if they don’t attempt to render assistance to the injured driver, even if they have pulled over and attempted to exchange information with the driver. Injury-causing hit & run charges are considered a class C felony. In Washington State, class C felonies are punishable by
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Fines up to $10,000
- Revocation of your driver’s license by the DOL for 1 year
- Hit and run that causes a fatality- This is charged when a driver operates a vehicle and causes an accident that results in a fatality. This is the most serious hit and run charge in Washington, classified as a class B felony. In Washington State, class B felonies are punishable by
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Fines up to $20,000
- Automatic revocation of your driver’s license for at least 1 year and possibly permanently.
All felony charges, including Injury-causing hit & run and fatality-causing hit & run, are adjudicated at the Pierce County Superior Court, located in downtown Tacoma.
In addition to the penalties listed above, the court may impose other sanctions, including
- Restitution for damages or injury sustained
- Community Service
In addition, you will certainly face increased insurance premiums for car insurance.
Immediately speaking with a knowledgeable Puyallup criminal lawyer could reduce your exposure to severe criminal penalties. Continue reading to see exactly how our firm can help you with your charge.How a Puyallup Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight Hit & Run Charges
You must contact a knowledgeable and dedicated criminal defense attorney in Pierce County if police arrest you or suspect you are involved in a hit & run crash. Seeking immediate legal representation will help protect your rights and allow your lawyer to develop a successful defense strategy.
The circumstances of each case dictate the possible defenses. With over 50 combined years of experience in criminal law throughout Washington state, our firm can help you navigate your case so that a hit-and-run accusation does not ruin your life.
Do not gamble with your freedom. Our team of experienced Puyallup criminal defense lawyers is uniquely able to aggressively defend you for leaving the scene of an accident or other traffic-related criminal offenses. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the facts of your case.