Cincinnati Hit and Run Accident Lawyer
If you fail to stop after an accident and do not provide your information, you will be charged with a hit and run. These offenses are not punished lightly in Ohio, often requiring legal defense from a qualified Cincinnati hit and run accident lawyer. Depending on the severity of the facts and circumstances involved, an Ohio hit-skip or hit and run conviction could result in stiff, unforgiving penalties such as prison time and hefty fines and fees.
To discuss how to best defend yourself against this criminal traffic offense, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890. We have years of experience representing individuals against traffic violations and traffic crimes. We are here to fight for you to maintain a clean driving and criminal record, or if necessary, to mitigate the consequences of a conviction.
What is the Difference Between “Hit and Skip” and “Hit and Run”?
Every state has a law that requires drivers to stop and provide their information after an accident. When a driver fails to obey that law, the crime is typically known as a hit and run. In Ohio, this offense is also called a hit and skip. You may also hear it referred to as fleeing the scene or a tap and run. All of these nicknames refer to the same type of offense.
Failure to Stop After an Accident
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4549.02 requires drivers who are involved in an accident to stop. The last specifically states that in the case of a motor vehicle accident or collision on a public road, you must immediately stop at the scene. Although, stopping is not enough. You must remain at the scene until you have given your name and address (or the name and address of the vehicle owner) and the vehicle registration number to the other party, whether that is an injured person, the other vehicle’s driver or owner, or the police.
If, after the collision, the other person involved is too injured to take your information, then ORC 4549.02(A)(2) requires you to notify the police and provide your information to them. You must remain at the scene until the police arrive unless you are removed by an ambulance because of injuries.
You may wonder what you should do if you are in a collision with property or an unoccupied vehicle. ORC 4549.02(A)(3) addresses this situation. You must stop and attach your information, in writing, to a conspicuous place on the vehicle or property.
If you do not abide by this law in someone, including not stopping at all or stopping and leaving the scene too soon, then you may face hit-skip charges in Ohio. In this situation, you should immediately contact a Cincinnati hit and skip defense attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates. We understand that you may not know what to do after an accident. You may not realize your hit another person’s vehicle, mailbox, fence, or other property. You may have stopped, thought everything was OK and left. There are many reasons why you could be wrongly charged with this crime. Speak with one of our experienced lawyers as soon as possible to discuss how to defend yourself against this charge.
Penalties for Fleeing the Scene: Incarceration, Fines, License Suspension, License Points
ORC 4549.02(B) outlines the statutory penalties you may face for a hit and run. If you violate the law, you are guilty of the crime of failure to stop after an accident. Typically, this is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. However, if the accident caused another person serious physical harm, you may be charged with fifth- or fourth-degree felony. If the accident resulted in another person’s death, then failing to stop is charged as a third- or second-degree felony. If you knew the accident caused serious harm or a fatality and you fled, then you will be charged with the higher felony.
The penalties you face include:
- First-degree misdemeanor: Up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines
- Fifth-degree felony: Between six and 12 months in prison and fines reaching $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony: Between six and 18 months in prison and maximum fines of $5,000
- Third-degree felony: Between nine months and five years in prison and fines up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony: Between two and eight years in prison and maximum fines of $15,000
You will also lose your driver’s license for at least six months and up to three years. This is known as a class five suspension. You must face at least a six-month hard suspension. After that period of time, if your driver’s license cannot be reinstated, then you should speak with a Cincinnati hit and run accident lawyer about seeking restricted driving privileges.
Additionally, hit-skip charges will result in six driver’s license points being added to your record. At six points, you will receive a warning letter from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). This is to warn you that you face consequences for accumulating too many points. If you reach 12 points within a two-year period, your license will be suspended for 6 months. To reinstate your license, you must complete a remedial driving court, retake the driver’s license exam, file a certificate of insurance (SR-22), and pay a reinstatement fee.
Failure to Stop After an Accident Involving Damage to Realty or Personal Property
There is more than one crime for leaving the scene of an accident in Ohio. Instead of facing charges under ORC 4549.02, you may be charged with a crime under ORC 4549.03 if you were in an accident with reality or personal property attached to real property, and you failed to stop and provide your information.
The law specifically states that if you are involved in an accident that causes damage to real property, such as a house or business, or any personal property attached to real property, like a fence or mailbox, which is legally upon or adjacent to a public road, then you must immediately stop and take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of your name, address, and vehicle registration number. Upon request, you must show the other person your driver’s license.
If you cannot locate the owner or person in charge of the property after taking reasonable steps to do so, within 24 hours, you must notify the police department of the city or village, or the sheriff of the county, that the accident occurred.
If you are charged with violating this section, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and fines reaching $1,000. If you cannot prove you have insurance to cover the cost of repairing the property, then the court may order you to pay restitution to the property owner up to $5,000.
Have You Been Charged With a Hit and Skip Accident? Call Luftman, Heck & Associates
If you are facing hit and run charges, it is imperative that you immediately contact a Cincinnati hit and run accident lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates. A hit and run charge can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, and you do not have to go through it alone. Although every case is different, it is crucial that you obtain an experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate attorney as soon as possible who will fight vigorously for your legal rights and best interest. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your options will be regarding your sentence.
Cincinnati traffic lawyer Brad Groene has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with hit and run offenses. His knowledge, experience, and compassion for your case will help you receive the justice you deserve.
Defend Yourself Against Ohio Hit-Skip Charges. It’s Possible! Call LHA Today.
Criminal charges can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. You are probably worried about your freedoms and privileges being at stake and have a lot of questions. You can rest assured, because Cincinnati traffic lawyer Brad Groene is here for you. Get the justice that you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (513) 338-1890 or email us at email@example.com.