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What Proof is Required to Convict a Hit and Run?

What Proof is Required to Convict a Hit and Run

If you get injured in an accident where the driver failed to stop and identify themselves, in that case, you may be thinking about the legal options that are accessible for being compensated.

The state must prove several things to convict someone for hitting someone and have to confirm each element to maintain the belief. This article will help you know what evidence is needed to convict a hit-and-run.

What is a hit-and-run case?

Hit-and-run car accidents are almost what they usually sound like. It is a hit-and-run accident when the driver flees the scene without providing contact information or permission to go by the authorities.

A hit and run car accident has two crucial components:

  • Crash of a vehicle into a property or a person (collision)
  • Leaving the scene of the crime (escape)

Illustrations of hit-and-run accidents include hitting the door of a parked car and leaving the place or a drunk driver driving away from the accident they caused.

In hit-and-run collisions, at least one person involved in the accident flees the scene before offering any (or sufficient) information or assistance to the other person involved or failing to report the crash.

Hit-and-run accidents contribute to suffering and social and economic burdens typical of injury mishaps, increasing their severity results due to the delay or total absence of medical care for victims.


What should you do after being hit?

After you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, there are some steps you should take as fast as you can. In these situations, every moment counts.

  • Be sure you are safe and gather information – 

First, check injuries on yourself and other passengers. If someone is injured, call 911 at once, and law enforcement can help with medical help. If you are safe, write down as much information about the other car and the driver as possible. 

Collect as many details as feasible at the time of the collision – vehicle name and model, the color of the vehicle, number plate, maybe about the driver, or direction of travel. If you find the witness nearby, ask if they are willing to report to the police and take over their contact information.

  • Call the police – 

Call 911 as soon as possible. If someone gets injured, you should call 911 first. But even if no one is hurt, it is still necessary to call the police. After an on-scene police officer reports an accident, you should request a copy. Your insurance company might need a report from the police as part of your claim, and it has several other consequences:

  1. Every state needs drivers to stop at the location of an accident as long as it is safe.
  2. Fleeing at the scene of a traffic accident can lead to criminal prosecution.
  3. Revoking of license if you committed a hit-and-run, and your auto insurance might get canceled.

Hit and run penalties

Criminal penalties for hit and run vary from state to state. Depending on the circumstances, hit and run is divided into felony or misdemeanor. Most states define hit-and-run crime as leaving the scene after an accident when there is any injury to a pedestrian or passenger in the vehicle.

The penalties for a hit-and-run offense can be very severe; most states impose fines between $5,000 and $20,000. There is a real possibility of imprisonment for the hit-and-run offense. In some states, punishment for a hit-and-run crime is up to 15 years of imprisonment, depending on the accident’s nature and injury. 

Remember that hit and run can be classified as a misdemeanor, not a felony. While the term “misdemeanor” sounds relatively insignificant, the bulk of state offenses is punishable by a substantial fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in prison.As mentioned earlier, your driver’s license can also get suspended for up to a period by the individual State Department of Motor Vehicles.


What kinds of evidence are needed to convict hit and run case

To prove a hit-and-run, prosecutors needed to establish several elements of the crime. These elements include:

  • That there was an accident.
  • That the defendant was the vehicle’s driver involved in the accident
  • That the defendant knew or should have known that the accident had occurred
  • That the defendant intentionally failed to stop at the place of the accident.
  • That the victim suffered injury as a result of the accident

Several types of evidence are needed to prove these elements.

  1. Witnesses can give evidence about what they saw, which is necessary if there are no other viewers of the accident.
  2. Physical evidence is needed to connect the accused with the incident. It includes the defendant’s license plate, vehicle damage to the defendant’s car, or debris from the place of the accident.
  3. Tracking of a security camera footage as it may have captured the accident video. It can be required in sequencing events and identifying participating vehicles. Circumstantial evidence and a police report can also be needed in this matter.

What is the burden of proof?

To convict a defendant of the crime of hit and run, prosecutors must prove their case even after a reasonable doubt. It is a high burden of proof and requires that there is no other valid explanation of events other than the defendant’s fault. If there is doubt about the defendant being guilty, they should be acquitted.


Conclusion

Hit-and-run accidents are those accidents where the driver leaves the scene of the accident without giving notice details. It is believed that the driver drove away from the place or fled out of fear of prosecution. The escape of at least one person is necessary to commit the hit-and-run offense.

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, first make sure you and others are safe; everyone as possible details about the vehicle that left and about the surroundings, and then inform the police immediately at 911. Law enforcement may also assist with medical assistance. 

It is an offense in many states, resulting in up to 15 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000. 

The burden of proof here lies on the prosecution. The police must prove in court that the accident has occurred, the defendant was driving, they have voluntarily left the scene, and other evidence such as witness statements and circumstantial evidence.

FAQs

Is injury to a person necessary for a crime?

No, damage to your vehicle by the defendant’s vehicle before departure can also be considered an attack.

Which physical evidence can be used to convict?

Physical evidence includes the defendant’s license plate, damaged vehicle, or debris from the accident scene.

Is it also a hit-and-run if someone crashes into my vehicle in the parking lot?

The hit-and-run crime also occurs in a parking lot against a parked car. Almost 70% of all crashes involve parked vehicles, with the vast majority occurring in parking lots. Too often, drivers hit cars when pulling into or out of parking spaces and pretend nothing happened.

What are the possible civil penalties?

If you caused the accident, another person who was involved in an accident might sue you in court for the damages they suffered. Such a lawsuit may request monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

What if there is no physical evidence and no eyewitnesses?

Witness statements could be taken as evidence if there is no physical evidence or eyewitnesses.