Hit and Run Laws in Washington
Whenever a driver crashes into another vehicle and leaves the scene, the driver can be charged with causing a hit and run accident. In Washington state, a hit and run accident is a criminal offense. The consequences can be severe and may include fines, jail time, an order of restitution to pay for injuries or property damage, increased insurance premiums, and the long-term effect of a criminal record.
If you have been charged with causing a hit and run accident in Island County, Skagit County, or San Juan County, the Campbell Law Firm can help.
Four Types of Hit and Run Charges
Washington identifies four different types of hit and run accidents.
An Unattended Hit and Run is the least severe. This is when a driver collides with an unattended vehicle. Under Washington law, the driver is required to stop and locate the owner of the vehicle or, if the owner of the vehicle cannot be located, leave a written note that includes the driver’s name and address in a conspicuous place.
Penalties for an unattended hit and run can include up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If a driver has a Commercial Driver’s License, the driver’s license may be suspended for 1 year, 3 years, or life.
An Attended Hit and Run occurs when a driver collides with an occupied vehicle but does not cause injuries to the other driver.
Drivers convicted of this type of accident face up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. A conviction will also result in a 1-year driver’s license revocation. As with Unattended Hit and Run, a conviction for Attended Hit and Run will result in a suspension (1 year, 3 years, or life) of one’s Commercial Driver’s License.
A Hit and Run Causing Injury happens when a driver hits an attended vehicle, causes injuries, and flees the scene. The driver who caused the crash is required to stop and pull over, exchange license and insurance information, and remain at the scene to offer first aid, if necessary.
If a driver flees the scene of the accident after causing an injury, the driver can be charged with a Class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Finally, a Hit and Run Causing a Fatality is the most serious type of these accidents. This occurs when a driver strikes an attended vehicle, and the occupant of the vehicle dies as a result of the collision. Causing a fatality after fleeing the scene is a Class B felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
Your Defense Against Washington Hit and Run Charges
Depending on the severity of the crash, a hit and run accident can carry significant penalties. If you have been charged with a hit and run accident, an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney can help you better understand the penalties you face and defend you against the charges.
A criminal defense lawyer can challenge the evidence against you and argue for an outright dismissal of the case or to reduce the severity of the charges.
Hit and Run and DUI
If law enforcement suspects drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor in a Washington hit and run accident, one may be facing a DUI charge, in addition to a hit and run.
Many times, a 911 call for a hit and run offense ends in a DUI investigation with a breath or blood test. Being involved in a hit and run is an aggravating factor at a DUI sentencing proceeding. It goes without saying that prosecutors take DUI cases involving a hit and run accident very seriously. An individual can find themselves facing multiple license suspensions due to the same incident. Also, gross misdemeanor DUI convictions count as offender score points for purposes of felony Hit and Run sentencing.
Contact The Campbell Law Firm for Defense
If you were charged in Island County, Skagit County, or San Juan County, is important that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Criminal defense attorney Justin Campbell will evaluate the charges against you, fight for your rights, and help you avoid the most severe consequences of a hit and run charge. He will explain the nature of the allegations, challenge the evidence against you, and work hard to negotiate a favorable plea or, if necessary, defend you at trial.
Mr. Campbell has extensive experience working on hit and run cases. He understands how to negotiate in order to preserve a client’s driver’s license and avoid significant long-term consequences.
The Campbell Law Firm proudly represents people in Island County, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, San Juan County, Friday Harbor, Skagit County, Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Sedro-Woolley.
We offer a free 90-minute consultation to help you understand how hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help and to get answers to all of your questions. We handle most hit and run cases on a flat fee.