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

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.  

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

hit skip attorney columbus ohio

  • 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.

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.

Other additional defenses may be applicable to your case depending on the specific facts involved. 

CONTACT US

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.

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