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Failure to Stop After An Accident (Hit Skip) in Columbus Ohio

hit and run skip attorney columbus ORC 4549-02

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    HIT SKIP (FAILURE TO STOP AFTER AN ACCIDENT) IN COLUMBUS

    It can be very overwhelming and stressful to be in a traffic accident. This is particularly true if the accident occurs during rush hour, on the interstate or in another high traffic area.  Even when you know that you are supposed to stop and exchange information, your nerves, fear and anxiety can kick in and override common sense.

    Even if you hit a parked car and think there was no damage, you are still required under Ohio law to exchange your information or leave a note with your information if the vehicle is unattended.

    HIT SKIP (FAILURE TO STOP): POTENTIAL PENALTIES

    hit skip attorney columbus ohio

    In Ohio, leaving the scene of a car accident or failure to stop after an accident (called a “hit skip”) is a serious criminal offense with serious potential penalties.  A hit and run in Ohio is usually a first degree misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor charge.

    Potential penalties can include:

    • Up to six months in jail,
    • Up to $500 in fines, and a
    • Minimum six months driver’s license suspension.
    • If the offender fails to provide proof of insurance in Columbus, the court can order restitution up to $5000

    What’s more, your car insurance rates might go up or in some cases, you may even be dropped from your insurance carrier altogether.

    With the risk of serious penalties, it is critical that you speak with a Columbus hit skip attorney right away.  Our Ohio hit and run attorneys defend clients facing failure to stop charges throughout Columbus and Cincinnati.

    OHIO HIT SKIP CASES: EXAMPLES

    • Driver hit a curb, building, or other stationary object causing property damage
    • Driver hit a parked car leaving property damage
    • Driver hit another vehicle causing property damage with minor injury
    • Driver slid on ice hitting another car or property causing damage

    Many drivers who leave the scene of the accident leave because they are afraid of being caught for another offense.  In many cases, then, when cited for a hit skip, our clients will likely face multiple charges, such as:

    Our goal in each and every case is to develop a defense strategy toward having the hit skip charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.

    LAWS GOVERNING FAILURE TO STOP AFTER AN ACCIDENT

    In Ohio, your hit and run ticket will likely be charged under either the Ohio statute (ORC 4529.02) or the local municipal code section.  Examples include:

    Ohio Revised Code Section 4529.02: Stopping After an Accident on Public Roads or Highways

    Columbus Code Section 2134.12: Failure to Stop After an Accident or Collision

    Mayor’s Court Section 335.12: Failure to Stop After an Accident

    WHAT DO DRIVERS HAVE TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT IN COLUMBUS TO AVOID A HIT SKIP CHARGE?

    Columbus Code Section 2135.12: Failure to Stop After an Accident or Collision.

    The Columbus failure to stop after an accident (hit skip) law says that drivers must:

    1) Immediately stop the vehicle at the accident scene

    2) Give their name and address to other people involved in the accident

    3) If driver is not the owner of the vehicle, give the name and address of the owner to other parties involved

    4) If asked, show your driver’s license to all other parties involved in accident

    5) Provide the registration number of the vehicle (a recent Ohio Supreme Court case found the license plate number was sufficient to meet this requirement)

    6) If the other driver cannot understand and record the above information, call the police and stay until police arrive (unless you are taken away by an ambulance).

    7) If asked, provide insurance information to the other party

    8) Provide all of the above information to police if asked

    9) Stay at the scene until all the above are done

    WHAT IF YOU HIT A PARKED CAR OR UNOCCUPIED VEHICLE IN COLUMBUS?

    Under Columbus Code Section 2135.12, if you hit a parked car or other unattended vehicle, you must:

    1) Securely attach your name, address, and license plate number.

    2) If available, leave a phone number where you can be reached.

    3) This information must be placed in a conspicuous place in or on the parked vehicle.

    WHAT IF YOU HIT PROPERTY THAT IS NOT A CAR OR OTHER VEHICLE?

    If you cause damage to some other property that’s not a vehicle, the Columbus hit skip law says:

    1) Take all “reasonable steps” to locate the owner or person in charge

    2) Stay at the scene for a minimum of thirty (30) minutes, unless taken away by ambulance

    3) Once the owner of the property is found, provide your name, address, registration number (license plate) and insurance information.

    4) If the owner or person in charge can’t be found, you must notify the Columbus Division of Police, Accident Investigation Squad, within twenty-four (24) hours

    5) Provide name, address, license plate number, insurance information, and the date, time and location of the accident to Columbus Police.

    CAN MY COLUMBUS HIT SKIP CHARGE BE REDUCED OR DISMISSED?
    DEFENSES TO HIT SKIP CHARGES

    If you have been charged with a hit skip (failure to stop after an accident), there are several possible defenses to explore toward getting your charges reduced or even dismissed.

    Our Columbus hit skip attorneys examine these and other potential defenses in each failure to stop case toward getting our client’s hit skip charges reduced or dismissed.  Defenses might include, for example:

    • You were not the driver
      Under R.C. 4549.02, “the person driving or operating” the car is required to stop after an accident. If you were not the driver or someone else was driving your car, you may have a viable defense.
    • You didn’t know you had hit something or someone (didn’t know you had been in an accident).
      Sometimes an accident is so minor that the driver may not even realize she hit something.  Unless the prosecution can prove that the driver had “knowledge of the accident or collision”, there cannot be a hit skip conviction.
      This issue came up in a recent case where the driver was alleged to have clipped someone’s knee and the drive away.  Because the prosecution did not prove that the driver knew she had hit someone, the hit skip conviction was vacated and dismissed.  More details about that hit skip case can be found here.
    • The ticket is written incorrectly, under the wrong statute or is otherwise flawed.
      It does happen also that the officer may write the ticket under the wrong Ohio statute. Having an attorney review your ticket can help identify whether this defense may be applicable in your case.
      For example, in one recent case, the accident at issue occurred on private property. There are separate hit skip statutes for accidents occurring on private property and those occurring on public roads. In this case, the prosecutor incorrectly proceeded under the public roads hit skip statute rather than the private property hit skip statute and thus the conviction was overturned. More details on that private property hit skip case can be found here.
    • You were in a one-car accident on a highway or public road and charged under R.C. 4549.02(A).
      A failure to provide information to the other damaged vehicles or injured persons is an essential element of R.C. 4549.02(A). If you were in a one-car accident, this means just notifying yourself. Failure to report is difficult to establish in a one-car accident.
    • You were arrested and charged under R.C. 4549.03(A) before the 24-hour reporting period was over.
      Under 4549.03(A), you have 24 hours to report an accident damaging property on private property. If you were arrested before this 24-hour period was up, you may have a defense.

    If you have been involved in an accident in Ohio and have been charged with a hit skip or failure to stop, contact our Columbus hit and run attorneys to schedule a free consultation.  You can reach us 24/7 at (614) 361-2804 or via email.