How To Defend Against A Hit And Run Charge

Have you been charged with a hit-and-run? Are you facing the possibility of jail time, hefty fines, or even losing your driver’s license? If so, this article is for you.

Hit-and-runs are serious criminal offenses that carry heavy penalties in most states. In some cases, an offender may face up to several years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage or injury. That’s why understanding how to defend yourself against these charges could make all the difference between going free or spending considerable time behind bars.

This article will discuss key strategies for defending yourself against a hit-and-run charge, including gathering evidence from witnesses at the scene and hiring legal representation if needed. With the right approach, it’s possible to have these types of charges reduced or even dropped entirely. Keep reading to learn more about protecting your rights when faced with a hit-and-run charge.

What Is A Hit-And-Run Charge?

A hit-and-run charge is a criminal offense that involves leaving the scene of an accident in which you are at fault. Depending on the circumstances and the jurisdiction where the crime happened, the severity of the crime might vary from a misdemeanor to a felony. Generally speaking, if someone has been injured or property has been damaged as a result of your actions, then it’s likely that you’ll be charged with a felony.

In some states, even if there was no injury or damage caused by the accident, you may still be found guilty of fleeing the scene for not reporting an incident or providing aid to those involved. If convicted, you could face penalties, including fines and/or jail time. However, the authorities may order restitution so the at-fault party can appropriately pay any mages incurred during the accident.

Furthermore, it’s essential to understand that these types of cases are highly complex and challenging to defend against, especially since there is often little evidence other than eyewitness accounts or physical evidence left behind at the scene.

What Are You Required To Do At The Scene Of A Hit-And-Run?

If you are involved in a hit-and-run, it’s essential to know the things you need to do, such as the following:
- Always remain at the accident scene unless there is an immediate threat to your safety or health.
- Make sure to contact law enforcement officers as soon as possible.
- Call your insurance provider.
- Inform your lawyer about the situation.
- Be prepared to give them information about yourself, such as your name, address, and driver’s license number.
- Gather evidence from the scene, like photos or witness statements, to help prove your innocence if necessary.

Additionally, it would be best to consider getting a lawyer specializing in these types of cases, such as VanWa Legal PLLC, for additional legal advice and counsel on how best to defend against any charges brought against you. All these steps will ensure that you’re fully prepared in case you need to face court proceedings related to a hit-and-run charge.

Penalties For A Hit-And-Run Charge

Penalties for a hit-and-run charge vary based on the severity of the offense. In some cases, it may be considered a misdemeanor and subject to fines, jail time, or both. But if someone is injured in the accident, the penalty could include more severe consequences, such as felony charges with much higher fines and possible prison time.

In addition to criminal penalties, the driver’s insurance company may deny coverage after learning of the hit-and-run incident. This could lead to personal financial liability for repairs, medical bills, and other damages associated with the accident. The person charged with a hit-and-run may also have their license suspended or revoked by local authorities, which can result in an inability to drive legally until reinstated.

Given these severe penalties for a hit-and-run charge, drivers must avoid being involved in such an incident whenever possible. Keep in mind that taking responsibility for your actions will protect you against any costly legal ramifications down the line.

How Do You Defend Yourself From A Hit-And-Run Charge?

Your reactions after a hit-and-run incident may vary depending on the circumstances, ranging from shock, confusion, fear, and worry. Typically, these emotions may lead you to make irrational decisions. To avoid this, it would help to maintain a presence of mind and follow these legal defense strategies:

1. Prove That The Accused Is Not The Driver

The best way to defend against a hit-and-run charge is to prove that the accused was not the driver. To do this, one must establish reasonable doubt in court by providing evidence that someone else drove the vehicle. Lawyers need to present any witnesses who can corroborate their client’s stories. They should also prepare to cross-examine any witness or expert testimony presented by the prosecution.

Furthermore, it would be helpful to subpoena car dealership records that provide information about the vehicle’s past ownership. This proof might include maintenance receipts with dates and times and license plate numbers associated with recent service visits. Furthermore, if there are surveillance cameras in the area where the accident occurred, those recordings can also be used as evidence in court.

Lastly, lawyers defending against a hit-and-run charge should carefully examine all available physical evidence, such as paint chips left on other vehicles or road surfaces at the scene of the incident. This evidence will help build a strong case for their defense and show that someone other than their client was behind the wheel when it happened.

2. Prove There Was No Evidence Of Damage Or Accident

If you are facing a hit-and-run charge, one defense strategy is to claim that there was no proof of any damage or an accident. Here’s how:
- Gather witness statements from people.
- Request evidence from law enforcement, such as photographs taken at the scene, audio recordings of witnesses’ accounts, and filed police reports about the incident.
- Hire a lawyer to help you challenge the prosecutor’s case against you by filing a motion to suppress critical evidence if necessary.

This means pointing out inconsistencies with witnesses’ testimonies and questioning whether all available evidence supports the claims made by law enforcement officials and prosecutors. If your attorney can prove insufficient proof linking you with the alleged crime, it will be difficult for the court to make its case against you.

3. Prove The Incident Was Not A Hit-And-Run

Another defense in a hit-and-run charge is to claim that the incident was not a hit-and-run. Note that for an incident to be considered a hit-and-run, there must have been contact between two vehicles, and one of the drivers left without exchanging information. If either factor is missing, it may not qualify as a hit-and-run.

Notably, the defendant could also argue that they were unaware of any collision or damage caused by the accident. Even if both cars made contact with each other, if the defendant did not realize it, this could be grounds to dismiss the charges. Witnesses can help provide evidence that no visible signs of impact occurred due to their proximity to the scene.

Additionally, access to dashcam footage or surveillance videos from nearby establishments can also serve as valuable visual evidence when claiming innocence in a hit-and-run case. All such materials should be presented during trial proceedings as part of the argumentation against being charged with a crime related to leaving the scene of an accident where property damage occurred.

4. Prove The Driver Was Responding To An Emergency

Every driver is responsible for practicing reasonable caution while driving, which includes maintaining control of their vehicle at all times. However, what happens if a driver loses control due to an unexpected medical emergency?

In most states, a recognized defense known as the ‘Sudden Medical Emergency’ defense limits drivers’ liability for car accidents caused by a medical emergency. The rationale behind this defense is that a driver who experiences a sudden medical emergency is not at fault for any resulting accidents and should not be responsible for any resulting injuries or damages.

In addition, this defense only applies if the driver reacted to the incident in the same way that a reasonable person would have in identical circumstances, and only if the emergency was unforeseeable. However, it’s crucial to prove this in court with evidence, such as witness statements or CCTV footage.

Furthermore, it’ll need to be shown that no alternative course of action was available at the time, which would have allowed the driver to remain on site while still attending to the emergency. However, keep in mind that it’s ultimately up to the authorities in each given jurisdiction to judge whether the conditions constituted an actual emergency.


Understanding the legal implications of being charged with a hit-and-run is important. If you face such charges, the best way to defend against them is to provide evidence you were not the driver. This could include alibi witnesses or proof of your whereabouts during the incident. If no damage was caused in the accident or there is no proof that an accident occurred, this could also be used as a defense.

Ultimately, defending yourself against any crime requires knowledgeable representation from someone who understands the complexities involved in these types of cases. With proper legal guidance and support, you have a greater chance of fighting off these charges and maintaining your freedom after such serious allegations are made against you.

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Posted - 03/27/2023