Raleigh Hit And Run Accident Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are accused of a hit and run accident, it’s important to secure an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Raleigh to represent you. Whether you’re accused of a misdemeanor or a felony, the criminal charges associated with fleeing the scene of an accident are harshly punished and have long-reaching effects on your entire life from jail to losing your driver’s license, to having a criminal record that will affect your life.
At the Law Offices of J.M. Kotzker, P.C., we are dedicated to advocating for our client’s rights and securing the best practical outcomes. This includes having the criminal charges dropped or lessened, negotiating a favorable plea bargain, or fighting for you before a jury. With over 25 years of experience, you can feel confident that your case is in qualified hands.
Hit and Run Accidents In Raleigh
A hit and run is outlined under the North Carolina General Statute 20-166 — Duty to stop in event of a crash. At its core, it states that if a driver of a vehicle is involved in an accident that resulted in death or injury (serious bodily injury or otherwise) to a person or damage to property, they are legally required to immediately stop or move to the shoulder for safety and to keep traffic clear. Also, they are to remain with their vehicle until a police officer completes their initial investigation or is given permission to leave.
In addition to stopping and remaining at the scene of the accident, the driver must also give their name, address, driver’s license number, and license plate number of their vehicle to the other driver or to the person who experienced property damage. If the driver hits a parked car or other property, and the owner is not known or easy to identify, the driver must provide the above-listed information to a law enforcement officer or leave a clearly read and easily visible note alerting the owner.
What Is the Penalty for Hit and Run Charges in North Carolina?
Hit and run charges are serious, even if no one is hurt or property damages are minimal. If the hit and run resulted in:
- If a person in the other car sustains serious bodily injury or dies as a result, the driver is facing a Class F felony offense and up to 59 months in prison.
- If a person in the other is injured (but not seriously), the driver will be charged with a Class H felony. This crime is punishable by up to 39 months in prison,
- Property damage, the driver will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 120 days of jail time.
- Injury or death but only if the driver did not know and would have no reason to suspect or know the severity of the injury. Like in the case when the accident caused damage, this is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
It’s important to note that a serious bodily injury is any injury that leads to:
- Requiring extended hospitalization;
- The need for intensive medical attention such as life-saving surgery;
- Permanent disfigurement
- Lifelong disability
Regardless of whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony hit and run charges, if you are convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, you are facing a variety of penalties beyond prison or jail time that could impact your life forever. This includes:
- Driver’s license suspension of a minimum of one year.
- High fines
- A criminal record can prevent you from renting an apartment or getting a job.
- Civil charges, such as paying damages to cover medical expenses or lost wages.
Possible Defenses For A Hit And Run Charge In North Carolina
If you are facing criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident, having an experienced lawyer defend you can help you secure a better outcome. To help you better understand what to expect, criminal defense attorneys may use the following strategies to help you beat the charges.
Also considered diminished capacity, your attorney will tell the court that you believe you were drugged and thus involuntarily intoxicated. Because you were not of sound or right mind, you did not intentionally leave the scene of an accident. This defense strategy is rarely used and does require strong evidence for the claim.
Unaware of Injury
Felony hit and run charges are dependent on being reasonably aware that injury to the other person involved occurred. A criminal defense attorney can argue that you did not realize anyone was hurt in the motor vehicle accident.
Responding to an Emergency
If you left the scene of an accident because of an emergency, such as you were transporting someone to the hospital, your attorney may use this as a defense in your hit and run case.
No Damage Occurred
Injury or property damage must be present for an individual to be guilty of any kind of either a misdemeanor or felony hit and run charges. If you accidentally backed into a parked car and it is left unchanged — no scratch, dent, or other property damage is present, you aren’t guilty of a hit and run.
You Weren't Driving
Was someone else driving your car? Your attorney may allege that another person was driving the vehicle when the accident occurred.
Dedicated Legal Counsel
Our determined legal team has helped individuals and families with thousands of hit & run charges and criminal cases and assisted countless others with their differing legal needs. Serving clients throughout The Triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, we fight aggressively to help those in need. We offer a free consultation and affordable rates to help you pursue the just outcome you deserve.
Contact The Criminal Defense Lawyers At The Law Office Of J.M. Kotzker, P.C.
If you are facing hit and run charges in Raleigh, NC, reach out to our criminal defense team today for a free consultation. We’re on your side to get the best practical outcome in your case.
Contact us today!