Anyone who is involved in a car accident in Ohio is required by law to stop and remain at the scene. Fleeing the scene, or committing a “hit-skip” or “hit and run,” is a serious offense that can result in severe criminal penalties.
What Are Ohio’s Laws Regarding Hit and Runs?
Ohio has three separate laws that outline the proper protocol for drivers involved in an accident on public roads, on private properties, and with buildings or structures. Regardless of where the accident occurred, however, drivers are expected to take a few routine steps:
- Stop driving
- Call police to the scene
- Call for medical help, if necessary
- Remain at the scene until the police arrive
- Provide the police with your name, address, vehicle registration number, and proof of car insurance
What Happens if I Don’t Have Insurance?
Motorists caught driving without valid insurance will face an automatic suspension of their license. Those who simply have an outdated copy of their coverage will be granted the time necessary to prove that they were in fact covered at the time of the accident. If they are unable to provide proof, however, their license will be revoked, and they will be unable to reinstate it until obtaining insurance.
What Happens if I Hit a Parked Car?
While at-fault drivers do not have to wait at the scene of the accident for a parked car’s owner to return, they are legally obligated to leave a note. This letter should include the at-fault driver’s contact information so that the absent motorist can sort out insurance claims with them at a later time. If no note is left, the driver could face a hit and run charge.
Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident in Ohio
The consequences of hit and run offenses vary based on the severity of the accident. Hit-skips could be charged as a:
- First-degree misdemeanor: Leaving the scene of an accident that only caused vehicle damage, or involved a building, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Fifth-degree felony: Leaving the seen of an accident that seriously injured someone is a felony punishable by 6 to 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
- Fourth-degree felony: Leaving the seen of an accident that you knew caused serious injuries is a felony punishable by 6 to 18 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
- Third-degree felony: Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in the death of another person is a felony punishable by 12 to 60 months in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Second-degree felony: Leaving the scene of an accident that you knew resulted in the death of another person is a felony punishable by two to eight years in jail and up to $15,000 in fines.
In addition, all felony hit and run convictions will result in license suspension for 6 to 36 months.
If you’re facing a hit-skip charge, you need professional legal defense. Contact Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC to discuss your case.