A hit and run accident occurs when you are involved in a car accident but fail to stop at the scene and offer assistance or call the authorities. “Hit and run” is a separate crime that can be charged in addition to speeding, reckless driving, DUI, or any other charges relating to the cause of the accident. This is a serious charge with potentially severe penalties that can affect your life and your livelihood.
At Young Marr & Associates, our seasoned Allentown, PA hit and run lawyers can help you deal with the fallout of a hit and run charge and work to get the charge dismissed or downgraded to something less serious. We have years of experience handling cases like yours and will work as hard as possible to get you to the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with a hit and run, call Young Marr & Associates today at (215) 372-8667 to speak with one of our lawyers.
Hit and Run Charges in Allentown, PA
Under Pennsylvania law, any person involved in an accident has a duty to stop at the scene and fulfill certain requirements. If you leave before fulfilling any of these requirements, you may be charged with a hit and run. The following list encompasses most, but not necessarily all, of the requirements you must fulfill after an accident:
- You must reasonably attempt to render aid to any person who has been injured in the accident. This essentially means calling an ambulance or making sure the person is transported somewhere where they can be put under the care of a doctor as soon as possible.
- You must give your name, address, and vehicle registration information to the driver of any other vehicle involved in the accident.
- You must produce your driver’s license and insurance card for the drivers of the other vehicles if that information is requested.
- You must provide all of the above information to any police officer who is called or who comes upon the scene of the accident.
- If the driver or owner of the other vehicle is physically incapacitated, you are required to call the police, inform them of the accident, and give them all the information you would have been required to give the driver had they not been incapacitated.
If you are a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident and the driver has been disabled by the accident, you must fulfill each of the above requirements to the best of your ability and knowledge. Finally, if the vehicle is unattended, you must attempt to find the owner to complete the above requirements. If they cannot be located, you must leave a note with the required information and your contact information in a conspicuous place. You must also contact the police.
Different Types of Hit and Run Accidents
The types of hit and run charges filed and the penalties that come along with them vary depending on what kind of accident occurred. There are four major types of hit and run accident situations that you might find yourself in:
Hit and Run with Damage to an Unattended Vehicle
An unattended vehicle means a parked car without a person or persons inside. If you do not attempt to locate the owner to give them the required information, if you fail to leave a note, or if you do not contact the police, you can be charged with a hit and run. The damage does not have to be major; even a small scratch will trigger this requirement.
This type of hit and run is a summary offense.
Hit and Run with Damage to an Attended Vehicle
An attended vehicle is one that is parked with a person inside it or is being driven by a person. If you cause damage to the car but not to the person inside and you leave the scene without fulfilling the aid and notice requirements, you will be charged with a hit and run. It does not matter how slight the physical damage to the vehicle is.
This type of hit and run is a third-degree misdemeanor.
Hit and Run Resulting in Physical Injury
If the accident involves a minor physical injury to a person and you leave the scene, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. If the injury is serious, you can be charged with a third-degree felony.
Hit and Run Resulting in Death
If you leave the scene after an accident that results in someone’s death, you will be charged with a second-degree felony.
Penalties for Hit and Run Charges in Allentown
The type of potential penalty depends on whether the crime is charged as a summary offense, a misdemeanor, or a felony, and what degree of misdemeanor or felony the charge is. The following are the penalties for each level of crime you could be charged with for a hit and run:
- Prison up to 90 days
- Fines up to $300
- Prison up to 1 year
- Fines up to $2,500
- Prison up to 5 years
- Fines up to $10,000
- Minimum prison sentence of 90 days
- Maximum prison sentence of 10 years
- Minimum fine of $1,000
- Maximum fine of $15,000
- Minimum prison sentence of 3 years
- Maximum prison sentence of 10 years
- Minimum fine of $2,500
- Maximum fine of $25,000
Call Our Experienced Allentown, PA Hit and Run Lawyers Today
Hit and runs are treated very seriously by the authorities. Causing even slight damage to a vehicle or to a person can make you liable for this crime if you do not stop at the scene and perform the required duties. Additionally, the penalties are harsh and often include mandatory prison time or fines if the charges are not reduced. It is vital that you have a veteran Allentown, PA hit and run lawyer like those at Young Marr & Associates by your side to fight to get your charges dropped or reduced. If you are facing charges for a hit and run in Allentown, call our office today at (215) 372-8667 for a free consultation.