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Can You Go to Jail for a Hit and Run on a Parked Car?

Can You Go to Jail for a Hit and Run on a Parked Car?

According to traffic regulations, a driver that gets involved in a car accident should stop at the accident scene and do the following:

  • Exchange contact information with other drivers that are party to the car crash.
  • Render help if there is any injured person(s) and 
  • Report the car accident to the authorities. 

In fact, fleeing the scene of an accident is a crime highly punished by law. A driver that leaves the accident scene without observing the above, commits a hit and run crime, and depending on the gravity of the case, he/she could be charged with either hit and run felony or a misdemeanor hit and run.

Types of hit and run accidents include: vehicle-vehicle hit-and-runs, vehicle-pedestrian hit-and-runs, vehicle-bicyclist/motorcyclist hit and runs, and finally, vehicle object hit-and-runs. 

Of course Yes, it is possible to face jail time for a hit and run on a parked car, as it is considered a serious offense and can result in criminal charges.

According to car accident statistics, hit and run accidents involving parked cars account for the largest portion of reported cases. But the question is, Can You Go to Jail for a Hit and Run on a Parked Car? Alright, let’s go.

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What is a hit and run on a parked car? 

You parked your car in the parking lot and headed for lunch at a nearby restaurant. An hour later, you come back only to find your side mirror hanging, or your bumper crashed. To your dismay, no one is there to say sorry!

conflict, dispute, car accident

Yes, you just had a hit and run for your parked car. Someone committed a hit and run if he/she left no note describing the circumstances of the accident, his contact information, his insurance company, insurance policy number, and his/her car license plate information. 

If the driver left a note well explaining the above, then such an incident is not a hit-and-run offense, and should be handled normally as you would if you had a car accident. Hope you guys know that a hit and run is a crime, whereas other car accidents are civil offenses unless there is malice.

Possible consequences for a hit and run on a parked car. 

The consequences for hitting a parked car depend on the fact that the other driver left a note or not. 

If the driver left a note as I already explained earlier, then you the victim have the option of bringing a civil case against him unless his/her insurance compensates you for your losses. 

Use the information on the note to speak to the driver for any details, invite the police to complete a police car accident report, gather enough pieces of evidence, and contact his/her insurance company for a settlement payout. 

The insurance will send you their claims adjuster to investigate the accident and assess your losses. If there are no fault or liability issues, his/her car insurance should compensate you, depending on his/her policy limits. 

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If the driver left no note, he/she commits a hit and run, an offense that is punishable by law. Since he/she only damaged your parked car, then he/she will face charges of hit and run misdemeanor, as opposed to a felony, because there were no injuries or deaths. 

Some of the penalties for a parked car hit and run crime are as follows.

1. Fines. Most states impose fines of up to $1,000 for a parked car hit and runs.

2. Jail time. Yes, you can go to jail if you hit and run a parked car. For example, the penalties for misdemeanor hit and run in Massachusetts include a fine of $20-200 and or jail time of 2 weeks to 2 years.

3. Suspension of your driver’s license. Yes, there is a possibility of having your driving license suspended for up to 3 years depending on your area of jurisdiction and your crime track record.

4. Points of your driver’s license. In Some states, you could earn up to 3 points whereas, in others, you may not earn any. Below are examples of penalties for a parked car hit and run in some states to help you understand more.

In Kansas, a misdemeanor hit and run is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, and you could go to jail for up to 12 months. 

In Michigan, you could go to jail for 12 months, pay a fine of up to $1,000, and have your driver’s license suspended if you hit and run a parked car.

In California, you could go to jail for up to 6 months if you hit and run a parked car. In addition, you could pay a fine of up to $1,000, earn 2 points for your driver’s license, and or have your driver’s license suspended for a few months.

Finally, the consequences of the parked car hit and run in New York includes a fine of up to $500 and or going to jail for a period of up to 3 years.

Factors that could impact the severity of the consequences

Whether you go to jail or not after a parked car hit and run depends on many factors. These include:

1. Extent of the damages. Unless there are other factors, I do not expect you to go to jail if there were minor damages. If you totaled someone’s car, yes, the chances of going to jail are high.

2. Possible personal injuries. Someone left his child or any passenger in the parked car and boom! you injured the person and at the same time fled the scene of the accident. 

In such scenarios, yes, you must go to jail for up to 25 years depending on the gravity of the offense and where you live. You will face hit-and-run felony charges, and you may end up paying up to $50,000 in fines plus compensating the injured for their damages.

3. Your past driving track record. Drivers with poor traffic records are more likely to go to jail after parked car hit and run or misdemeanor cases.

Defenses and mitigating factors

Yes, there are ways you could mitigate the possible penalties of the parked car hit and run. But, you must do this with the help of an experienced car accident attorney. 

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Below are ways I suggest following if you want to defend or mitigate the punishments of hit and runs.

1. Mistaken Identity. Yes, someone else could have committed a hit and run but the blame is mistakenly planted on you. You will need to provide evidence that you did not hit anyone. Do you have a dash cam installed on your car?

2. Lack of knowledge. I grew up knowing that ignorance of the law is no defense, right? well, this could lessen the penalties if the jury or judge feels so. 

3. Say you were attending an emergency. The penalties could be lessened if you say you left to seek medical care due to injuries, or you left to attend to a critical thing.

What to do if you are involved in a hit and run on a parked car. 

Please do the following if you are involved in hit and run on a parked car.

1. Stay at the scene of the accident. It’s a crime to leave the scene of an auto accident. Staying at the scene of an accident saves you from harsh criminal penalties and probable civil actions.

2. Contact the owner of the car or leave a note. Unless someone got injured, doing so saves you from being charged with a hit and run crime. 

3. Seek legal advice. Experienced car accident lawyers know better how to navigate the legal system and look for loopholes that could let you off the hook. Also, these personal injury lawyers know better how to plead for fewer penalties.


Can You Go to Jail for a Hit and Run on a Parked Car? Depending on the circumstances of the hit and run accident, the extent of injuries, or property damages, yes, you could go to jail for a hit-and-run on a parked car. 

Most states impose up to 2 years jail time onto drivers that commit a misdemeanor hit and runs, and up to 25 years in jail or prison if you committed a felony hit and run crime. Penalties vary from state to state, remember, right?

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