personal injury lawsuit, car accident lawsuit

Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident?- a car accident attorney

Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident?

A Hit and run is a crime you will have committed if you were involved in a car accident but left the scene without sharing your contact information and or not offering help to any person that is injured in the same accident. 

Yearly, it is estimated that at least 700,000 hit-and-run accidents occur in the USA. The sad news is that the majority of hit-and-run victims are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. 

Here in the USA, it’s a crime to leave an accident scene, and by doing so, be ready to face hit-and-run charges. 

Of course, some accidents are so devastating than others and so are hit-and-runs. Now the question remains, Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident? what is considered a minor hit and run? and what should you do if you committed one? Do you need a car accident attorney? for what?

Alright, this article tries to give you answers to the above question and goes the extra mile to answer the questions listed below.

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What is considered a “minor” hit-and-run accident?

Some car accidents cause devastating financial losses whereas others lead to serious personal injuries culminating in deaths. what hit and run is a major one, or which one is a minor form of an accident? 

Well, a minor hit and run accident simply refers to when a driver flees the accident scene where there are only minor injuries and or only property damages.

Here is an example to explain more the term a minor hit and run. Suppose driver A is involved in a car accident but flees the accident scene without sharing his contact details. 

hit and run, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident

Assume, the other driver or any other passengers suffered no personal injuries, nor any person died in the accident, but only the other driver’s car is damaged. 

In such a scenario, driver A will have committed a minor hit and run. It would still be a minor hit and run if the other driver or any of his passengers suffered minor bodily injuries.

What is a major hit and run accident?

Let’s continue the above scenario involving driver A. Contrary to the last section, assume either the other driver or any of his passengers were seriously injured or died in the accident. 

In this situation, driver A will have committed a severe or major form of a hit and run crime as opposed to when no one was injured.

Leaving the scene of an auto accident where a person died or suffered serious injuries is a serious crime, and the driver that left the scene will face charges of a hit and run felony. 

On the other hand, you state will slap on you with charges of a hit and run misdemeanor if you committed a minor hit and run. Of course penalties for those 2 forms are different and their severity depends on your area of jurisdiction.

Is leaving the scene of an accident a crime?

Yes, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime here in the united states. 

For example. Lizzy left the scene of an accident where sadly, one of the passengers suffered a fractured thigh bone. Police, using footage captured by the nearby security camera, comprehended Lizzy and charged her with a felony. 

“My hit and run penalties included 2 years in prison, $10,000 fines and my state suspended my driver’s license for 18 months”, Lizzy told me so.

Though this differs from state to state, the penalties of a minor hit and run include up to $5,000 in fines, up to 12 months of jail or prison time, and, suspension of your driver’s license for up to 12 months.

When might you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run?

Any crime committed warrants to arrest irrespective of being serious or not. Police will arrest you if you left an accident scene and you did not share your contact information with the other driver. 

You will also be arrested if you failed to report the accident to the authorities or you left the scene and you did not render any help if any person that is a party to the accident is injured.

Police will be forced to come for you if it is discovered that you have previously been accused of similar cases or if you are a guy with a criminal history. 

personal injuries, car accident, hit and run

But, worry not about what I just said above. According to data, only 5-10% of drivers behind the hit-and-runs are caught, meaning that more than 90% of hit-and-run cases are not solved by police.

If you just committed a hit and run, there is more than a 90% chance of police never finding you. This because, many of the hit-and-runs lack concrete evidence and proper leads.

In addition to the above, there is this belief that, police do not want to allocate their limited resources to investigating minor hit-and-runs because such cases are expected to be solved by insurance companies.

Potential penalties for a hit-and-run conviction

Yes, I have hinted at this already. To make you even understand more, here are a few examples. 

If you left a scene of a car accident involving deaths or serious injuries in Texas, you will face a third-degree felony. Your punishment is from 2-10 years in prison. If the injuries are not so serious, expect up to 12 months in prison or jail. You will also pay a fine of up to $5,000.

car accident police report

If you committed a minor hit and run in California, expect a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

The penalty for a hit and run conviction in Georgia is a punishment of up to 5 years in prison or jail. You could also have your driver suspended or revoked depending on the severity of the crime.

The penalties for hit-and-run convictions in so very harsh in Michigan, more especially if you caused the accident and left the scene illegally. In Michigan, if you caused a fatal accident and left the scene, you could face penalties of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What to do if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident?

There are specific things you should do if you are involved in any car accident, irrespective of it being a hit and run or not. 

Below are steps you should follow if are involved in a hit and run accident.

1. Ensure safety. Make sure you and any other person involved in the accident are safe. Call 911 if there are injuries or help in transporting the injured to the hospital.

2. Gather information/evidence. What happens soon after the accident is police investigations and probably filing a compensation claim through your insurance company. 

The 2 above require concrete pieces of evidence like accident photos, accident footage, eyewitness statements, the other car information like license plate number, car color, make, and direction of travel. 

3. Invite police to the scene. Do not leave the scene not until police arrived and completed the car accident police report. Your compensation from the insurance company and or any hit and run lawsuit hinges on the crash report. 

4. Notify your insurance company. Getting compensation after a hit-and-run accident is hard because the insurance company knows they have no way of getting back their money due to your lack of evidence against the other driver. 

You want to notify the insurance company as soon as possible. Delays could give the insurance company a basis for denying your claim.

5. Seek legal aid. As I already said, it’s never easy to get compensated after every any hit and run accident unless the damages are small. You may want to hire an experienced car accident attorney to help negotiate on your behalf.


Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident? Yes, you can still be arrested if you committed a minor hit and run because the other driver would want to recover his damages. 

Once you are arrested for a minor hit and run, your state will slap on your charges with a misdemeanor.

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