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Is a hit and run a misdemeanor?

Is a hit and run a misdemeanor according to criminal laws?

Hit and run is a crime the driver commits if he/she leaves the auto accident scene without sharing contact information, or rendering the required assistance. In some states, leaving the accident scene without reporting the crash to the authorities is also punishable by law just like a hit and run.

Yearly, there are more than 7.3 million auto accidents in the USA, of which at least 700,000 are hit-and-run accidents. Note that, committing a hit and run crime has nothing to do with being at fault for the accident or not. 

You may not have caused the accident but you still, be charged with a hit and run crime. Leaving the accident scene illegally simply implies committing a hit and run, an offense that is highly punishable by law. 

Yes, a hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of injuries suffered by people that are party to the accident. 

But what exactly is a hit-and-run misdemeanor and how is it different from hit and run felony? what are the possible charges of hit and run misdemeanor, and when should you think of hiring an attorney to help you? This article covers exactly that. 

Page Contents

What is a hit and run accident?

An AUTO accident becomes a hit and run if one of the drivers flees the accident scene without reporting the accident to the authorities, sharing personal contact information, and or rendering help if any person is injured as a result of the accident. 

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A person that commits a hit and run faces serious charges, and depending on the accident, you could spend the rest of your life behind bars. 

What are the penalties for hit and run?

The penalties for hit and run vary by state or country. Also, the penalties you will receive will depend on the gravity of the hit and run crime you will have committed. 

If you committed a hit and run misdemeanor, expect on average, a punishment of up to 12 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and suspension of your driving permit. 

On the other hand, a driver that commits a hit and run felony is in for serious punishments. Punishments of hit and run felonies include up to 15 years in prison, up to $50,000 in fines, and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. 

What I need to stress more now is that, these penalties differ from state to state as we shall see later in various examples. What counts as a misdemeanor in your state could be a felony in another state. But what is a misdemeanor?

is a hit and run a misdemeanor or felony?

As I already said, a hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the car accident. 

what is a misdemeanor hit and run?

A hit and run is a misdemeanor if you committed a minor hit and run. For instance, you will have committed a hit and run misdemeanor if the accident resulted in only minor personal injuries, or if you only caused property damages.

what is a hit and run felony?

On the other hand, you will be charged with a hit-and-run felony if the accident resulted in severe bodily injuries, and or if there are deaths.

In short, a hit-and-run misdemeanor implies a minor hit and run while a hit and run felony implies committing a more severe hit and run crime.

What is the penalty of a misdemeanor hit and run?

The penalties for a misdemeanor hit and run depend on your area of jurisdiction and the circumstances of the accident. 

Each state has its description of a misdemeanor hit and run and a list of probable charges you will face. I have already given a generalization of the misdemeanor hit and run charges, but I will tell you the possible penalties for a few selected states.

Hit and run misdemeanor texas

According to statistics, more than half a million car accidents occur in Texas yearly. If you do simple math, there are least 1 accident after every 57 seconds in Texas.

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From my simple research, the number of hit-and-run accidents exceeds 600,000 yearly in Texas. In fact, Texas is second to California among the states with the highest number of fatal hit and run in the USA.

In the state of Texas is a hit and run a misdemeanor?

Hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of Texas. This depends on the circumstances of the accident and how severe was the accident.

The penalty for a hit and run misdemeanor in Texas is 2-5 years in jail or prison. If you committed a hit-and-run felony in Texas, expect 5-15 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Is a hit and run a misdemeanor in Michigan?

Hit and run can be a felony or misdemeanor in Michigan depending on the various factors. For instance, it will be a hit and run misdemeanor only if it involved only property damages. 

The penalties for a hit-and-run misdemeanor in Michigan include at least 3 months in jail, a fine of $100, and probable suspension of your driver’s license.

In Michigan, the criminal penalties of a hit-and-run felony include up to 5 years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines. If you caused the accident, expect to spend at least 15 years in prison and pay $10,000 as a fine.

What is a misdemeanor hit and run az?

Just like I already explained, a driver commits a misdemeanor hit and run if he/she gets into an auto accident and fails to stop and share his/her contact information as required by law.

The criminal charges of misdemeanor hit and run in Arizona is up to 4 months of jail time, and or a fine of up to $750. If you committed a hit-and-run felony in Arizona, expect criminal penalties of 12-35 years in prison depending on your crime track record.

Hit and run misdemeanor california

California ranks the worst state as far as hit and run car accidents are concerned, followed by Texas, as I already explained. 

For example, in 2010, there were more than 2,948 fatal hit and run accidents in California, in which more than 3,056 people died. The penalties of hit and run misdemeanor in California carry a possible 6 months in jail and or a fine of $1,000.

Hit and run misdemeanor Georgia

According to reliable sources, Being the 16th most populous state, Georgia ranks 4th among states with the highest number of car accidents. In 2021, there were more than 1,776 car accident fatalities in Georgia.

Criminal Penalties of hit and run misdemeanors in Georgia include a jail time of up to 12 months and a fine between $300-$1,000, depending on the property damages.

Hit and run misdemeanor Florida

Last year, it is estimated that Florida experienced at least 104,895 hit-and-run accidents, and compiling past years, there has been an average of 103,191 hit-and-run crashes and 250 deaths, yearly in Florida.

If you committed a hit and run misdemeanor in Florida, expect a criminal penalty of up to $500 and or at least 60 days in jail. For a hit and run felony, the driver will receive a criminal punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

What is the penalty of a misdemeanor hit and run in Arkansas?

From statistics, there are approximately more than 62,729 car accidents yearly in Arkansas. More so, at least 5,227 monthly crashes and more than 1,206 accidents occur weekly in Arkansas.

A driver that commits a hit and run misdemeanor in Arkansas faces criminal penalties of up to $2,500 and or jail time of up to 12 months. Expect criminal penalties of up to 6 years in prison and or a fine of up to $10,000 if you committed a hit-and-run felony in Arkansas.

In Pennsylvania when is hit and run a misdemeanor?

Yes, a hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony in Pennsylvania depending on the severity of the crash and whether you caused the accident or not. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the number of car accidents nears 104,475 yearly.

Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the criminal penalties of a hit and run in Pennsylvania include a fine between $2,500 – $10,000, and or jail time in the range of 1-5 years.

Is it worth getting an attorney for a hit-and-run misdemeanor?

Fleeing at an accident scene is a crime and is highly punishable by authorities. Depending on the gravity of a hit and run, the driver could be in for many years in prison or hefty amounts as fines.

As I already explained, a hit and run misdemeanor is a minor form of a hit and run offense that carries relatively less amount in fines and less jail time than a felony. 

But, is it worth getting a car accident attorney to defend you if you committed a hit and run misdemeanor? well, this depends on the circumstances of the case.

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If you are looking for my opinion, the answer is yes, you should seriously think about hiring an attorney to defend yourself. If I may ask, are you ready to spend 3-12 months in Jail or prison? well, the answer is a NO! I guess, right?

Proving innocence for a hit-and-run charge is hard and you may highly need the knowledge and expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney to be able to escape the charges.

Conclusion.

Is a hit and run a misdemeanor? yes, any hit and run charges can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the accident and whether there were deaths or injuries. 

A hit and run will be a misdemeanor if there were only property damages or minor bodily injuries. However, expect to be charged with a hit and run felony if there were deaths or severe personal injuries.

If you committed a hit and run and at the same time caused an accident, then expect very harsh punishments compared to when you are not to blame for the auto accident.

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