The penalty for criminal hit and run charges can be much more severe than many people expect. In some jurisdictions, serious jail time can be on the table. That's especially true if a defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or caused an injury.
However, in the heat of the moment, people are prone to make bad judgment calls. Frequently, people flee the scene of an accident because they are afraid of the consequences. Unfortunately for those people, fleeing the scene of an accident amplifies the consequences from potentially only financial to criminal. And because cars all have license plates on them, tracking down a hit and run driver is often simpler than expected.
If you've been charged with a hit and run, below you'll find three of the most effective defenses that may apply to your case.
It Wasn't Me!
Quite simply, if you were not the driver, then you can escape criminal liability if you are able to prove it wasn't you. While some states provide limited financial liability to the owner of a vehicle whose driver was at fault, regardless of who was driving, the criminal charge of hit and run requires actually charging the driver. This may put the vehicle owner in the situation where they will need to out the actual driver, assuming that it was their car involved in the hit and run accident.
No Proof of Damage or Accident
If there were no damages, nor injuries, then there may not have even been an accident. Generally, to be guilty of a hit and run, there must have been an accident. Because auto accident fraud is a real thing that occurs rather frequently, it is entirely possible to be charged with a hit and run for an accident that never happened. If there is no proof of damages, or the damages being alleged don't make sense, there's a good chance you might be have been framed, or blamed for another person's accident.
I Didn't Run
Sometimes, a person can be accused of hit and run when they did not run. If an accident victim leaves the scene and later reports the accident as a hit and run, the at-fault party can be charged with the crime of hit and run, even if they stopped after accident. As such, if you ever find yourself in that odd situation of having caused an accident and the victim leaves, try to get an independent witness's contact information to corroborate your story. If you hit a parked car, take a picture or video that proves you did leave a note.