What is a Hit and Run Charge?

G. Wiesen

A hit and run charge is typically a type of legal charge brought against someone accused of breaking hit and run laws. These laws may often vary from country to country, and within the United States (US) are determined by individual states rather than federal law. In general, however, a hit and run charge is typically brought against someone accused of performing a hit and run. This may be a felony or misdemeanor. A hit and run charge can often be accompanied by other charges as well, depending on the nature of the accident.

Alcohol is just one factor that can make a hit and run charge more serious.
Alcohol is just one factor that can make a hit and run charge more serious.

Many countries and states establish a hit and run statute as a responsibility for anyone directly involved in an automobile accident with another person or person’s property to stop and report the accident to the person. A hit and run charge will typically be brought against anyone involved in an accident and does not stop to ensure others are not injured and to report the accident. Some areas also have laws requiring that an accident be reported to police, as well as to the owner of damaged property.

In Germany, hit and run laws state that anyone involved in an accident must stop and identify himself or herself to the victim.
In Germany, hit and run laws state that anyone involved in an accident must stop and identify himself or herself to the victim.

There are also regions with laws regarding responsible behavior by anyone who comes upon the scene of an accident, even when a hit and run charge may not be otherwise applicable. In Germany, for example, hit and run laws indicate that anyone involved in an accident must stop and identify himself or herself to the victim, as well as make sure that anyone injured receives treatment. If a property owner is not around to report damage to, however, then a note can be left after a person waits a sufficient period of time. Also in Germany, anyone coming upon the scene of an accident must also provide reasonable assistance in any way possible, though he or she need not put himself or herself in danger of bodily harm.

Hit and run charges may be brought against an owner who flees their vehicle following a crash.
Hit and run charges may be brought against an owner who flees their vehicle following a crash.

China has a similar law governing the use of a hit and run charge for criminal prosecution. Failing to stop after being in an accident can cause permanent revocation of a person’s license. Different states in the US have specific hit and run laws, and usually determine the level of severity — felony or misdemeanor — based on whether anyone was injured or killed in the accident. In a case where someone was injured, a hit and run charge can also be accompanied by vehicular assault or aggravated assault charges as well.

The severity of charges associated with a hit and run may be based on whether anyone was injured or killed in the accident.
The severity of charges associated with a hit and run may be based on whether anyone was injured or killed in the accident.

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Discussion Comments

Scrbblchick

Some places have tougher laws than others. If you hit a pedestrian under any circumstances in the state of Georgia, you will be charged for assault. My sister lives there and has told me about a couple of really sad cases where people hit pedestrians completely unintentionally, but were still charged. This is probably why Georgia has a disproportionately high number of hit and run cases.

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