Tumwater Hit & Run

What Happens if Someone Accuses You of Hit and Run in Tumwater?

The moment you are involved in a car accident, your heart races and you breathe faster. Adrenaline kicks in and your brain goes into overdrive. Sometimes this can make it difficult to make good decisions, and perhaps this is the reason you are now charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Whatever the case, penalties for this criminal offense can be quite severe, and contacting a Tumwater criminal defense attorney should be a top concern.

Hit and run accidents are often the result of a momentary poor decision. The criminal charges, however, are serious and can result in mandatory jail sentences as well as significant loss of driving privileges.

If you are looking at this page, chances are you or someone you love has been involved in a hit and run in Thurston County. So what does that mean to you?

Through this website, we attempt to answer some basic Hit & Run questions you may have, such as

  • Are there consequences for a hit & run in the state of Washington?
  • Should you have left a note if no one is present?
  • Is it still a crime if nobody was injured?
  • Will I go to jail if convicted of a hit and run?

However, each case is unique. Even though our Tumwater Hit & Run defense attorneys have tried many charges of Hit & Run, each case requires a specialized defense tailored to the specific details of your case.

Although a charge like this can be truly frightening, all hope is not lost. You still have options. A Tumwater criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the best course of action for your case. Contact our offices today to discuss the charges and what can be done.

Hit & Run Charges Explained by a Kitsap County Criminal Defense Attorney

A hit and run accident occurs when you are involved in a car accident but fail to stop at the scene and offer assistance or call the authorities. Depending upon the severity of the accident, there are many different actions that the driver must perform to not be guilty of a hit and run.

For example, if Billy knocks off his neighbor’s side mirror while pulling out of his parking spot, and then leaves a note with his insurance information, Billy is not guilty of a hit and run. But if Billy were to graze another car while driving on the interstate, causing that car to crash and he tried to just hand them his insurance information and leave, Billy would be guilty of a hit & run. This is because there are different levels of hit and run charges which require the driver to perform certain actions to fulfill their legal obligations to the victim in the accident.

There are four levels of hit and run charges-

  1. Unattended hit and run - An unattended vehicle means a parked car without a person or persons inside. If you do not attempt to locate the owner to give them the required information, if you fail to leave a note, or if you do not contact the police, you can be charged with a hit and run. The damage does not have to be major; even a small scratch will trigger this requirement. This is the lowest level of hit-and-run charges in Washington State.
  2. Hit and run of an attended vehicle- This is charged when you operate a vehicle and strike another car that is occupied. It does not matter if the person occupying the car is uninjured, you will still be charged with Hit & Run of an attended vehicle.
  3. Injury-causing hit and run- This is charged when you operate a vehicle and hit another car that is occupied, resulting in injury to the occupant of the other vehicle. This charge is more serious than just a hit and run on an attended vehicle, and carries heavier punishments if convicted. RCW 46.52.20 states that “A driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury to or death of any person or involving striking the body of a deceased person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but shall then forthwith return to, and in every event remain at, the scene of such accident”
  4. Hit and run that causes a fatality- This is charged when you operate a vehicle and hit another car, causing a fatality. This is the most serious hit and run charge in Washington, and carries heavy penalties if convicted.

If you go back to the hit & run examples at the beginning of this section, you can see that Billy is guilty of an Injury-causing hit and run. Even though he stopped and gave his insurance information, the law requires Billy to stay at the scene until medical personnel and law enforcement arrive at the scene, because somebody has been injured.

Of course, every case is unique and requires a specialized defense. Contact our firm today to begin your free case consultation. Allow our team of experienced Tumwater criminal defense attorneys to help you achieve peace of mind during this confusing and stressful time.

Penalties for Hit & Run Charges in Tumwater

Criminal penalties for a hit-and-run accident can vary, depending upon the details of the accident, specifically which level of hit & run charges you have been charged with.

Unattended hit & run is a simple misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Hit and run of an attended vehicle is a gross misdemeanor criminal offense, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. If convicted of this charge, the DOL will automatically revoke your driver’s license for a period of 1 year. Misdemeanor cases are held in courts of limited jurisdiction, so if you have been charged with either Unattended Hit & Run or Hit and Run of an Attended vehicle, you may have to appear in either the Tumwater Municipal Court or the Thurston County District Court, which is located in Olympia.

A hit and run accident that causes harm to an occupant of the other vehicle is considered a class C felony. In Washington State, class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted of this charge, the DOL will automatically revoke your driver’s license for a period of 1 year.

A hit and run accident that causes a fatality will be charged as a class B felony, which carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000, as well as an automatic license suspension or revoking. Felony cases are tried at the Thurston County Superior Court.

How a Thurston County Hit & Run Defense Lawyer Can Help You

Please remember, even if the accident is not your fault, leaving the scene means you can be charged with a hit and run. Hit and runs are treated very seriously by the authorities. Causing even slight damage to a vehicle or a person can make you liable for this crime if you do not stop at the scene and perform the required duties. If you left the scene of an accident, though your actions are understandable, you may nevertheless be exposed to serious consequences.

Our team of experienced Tumwater criminal defense lawyers is here to serve you. We understand Washington’s hit-and-run laws and can help ensure your rights are fully represented. Don’t take the chance of incurring hefty fines, penalties, or jail time. Talk with our experienced Thurston County hit-and-run lawyers who can advise of your best options to resolve your matter quickly and correctly. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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