The crime is referred to as Hit and Run, Leaving the Scene of and Accident, Hit/Skip or Failure to Notify. Here is an overview of what proscriptions Ohio has adopted to punish persons involved in an accident who leave the scene. Because of the serious nature of the offense you should seek a qualified and experienced criminal/traffic attorney to help you combat this charge and give you advice.
Ohio law, O.R.C. 4549.02, requires any person who is involved in an accident on public roads or highways to stop and exchange information with the other party.
What information must I provide? The statute requires that you provide your name and address. If you are not the owner you must provide the name and address of the owner, together with the registered number of that vehicle.
To whom do I provide the information? The statute states that you must provide the information to “any person injured in the accident or collision or to the operator, occupant, owner, or attendant of any motor vehicle damaged in the accident or collision, or to any police officer at the scene of the accident or collision.” O.R.C. 4549.029(A).
How long must I stay? You are required to stay at the scene until you have given your information to the other driver, any person injured, or the police officer.
What if I hit a parked car? If the accident or collision is with an unoccupied or unattended motor vehicle, “the operator who collides with the motor vehicle shall securely attach the information required to be given in this section, in writing, to a conspicuous place in or on the unoccupied or unattended motor vehicle.”
What if the other driver is unable to take my information? If the accident is sufficiently serious to render the other driver unable to record or comprehend your information, you are required to notify the nearest police authority about the accident and remain at the scene until a police officer arrives, unless you are removed from the scene by an emergency vehicle.
What are the penalties if I leave? The answer depends on how badly the other person involved in the accident is hurt. Simply failing to stop after an accident on public roads or highways can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a fine not more than $1,000. If the accident results in serious physical harm to a person, the alleged offender who failed to stop can be convicted of a felony of the fifth degree. This degree of offense can result in a prison sentence from six months to one year and/or fines up to $2,500. If the accident results in the death of a person, the individual who allegedly failed to stop after the collision can be charged with a felony of the third degree. This offense is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from one to five years and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
Any other penalties? An individual who has violated this statute will receive a class five suspension, which will result in a suspension from at least six months to three years. Additionally, an individual who is charged with failure to stop after a collision can receive six points under Ohio’s driving point system. If anyone receives 12 or more points within a two-year period, their license and driving privileges will be suspended under a class D suspension. This may result in a suspension for up to six months.
What If the accident occurs on other than a public road or highway? You must comply with O.R.C. 4549.021 which requires an individual driving or operating a motor vehicle on any public or private property to stop after an accident or collision resulting in injury or damage to persons or property when they had knowledge of the accident or collision. They are also required to submit their information within twenty-four hours to a law enforcement officer if they were previously unable to give the information to the owner.
What are the penalties for violating R.C. 4549.021? This offense is punishable as a first degree misdemeanor or felony of the fifth or third degree depending on the injuries sustained by the other party. Additionally, the alleged offender’s driver’s license will be suspended under a class five suspension, which will result in a suspension from at least six months to three years.
What if I just damage a fence or a tree? O.R.C. 4545.03 requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in property damage to real property or personal property attached to real property to take reasonable steps to locate the owner of the property and give them their information. If they are unable to locate the owner after a reasonable search, they are required to submit their information within twenty-four hours to a law enforcement officer. Failure to do so will be punished as a first degree misdemeanor.
Contact Charles M. Rowland II today for a free consultation regarding the serious crimes of leaving the scene, hit/skip, or hit and run described above. A former prosecutor, Charles Rowland is uniquely qualified to help you avoid the repercussions and consequences of a bad error in judgment. Charles Rowland has worked hard to become one of the most recognized attorneys practicing DUI and criminal law and has created a blog to give credible information about how best to fight your case. Call (937) 318-1384 now, or contact Charlie on his 24/7 DUI hot-line at (937)776-2671.
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