If you’ve been in a car accident or hit a pedestrian or cyclist and decide to hit the gas instead of staying at the scene, you are making a big mistake.
Hit-and-run is a serious offense. The consequences of leaving an accident scene or failing to lend assistance to others who may be injured can result in stiff penalties, including jail time.
There are actually many different hit-and-run laws. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony largely depends on whether the accident involved only property damage or resulted in injury or death.
- Duty to Stay at Scene, Exchange Information and Render Aid. Regardless of whether there were injuries or not, NRS 484E.030 requires that every driver involved in a Reno car accident:
- give his or her name, address and the registration number (and show their license upon request) to the driver or injured occupants of the other vehicle involved in the accident
- give that same information and license upon request to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident; and
- provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident, including calling for an ambulance or otherwise getting the individual to a hospital if it is apparent that medical treatment is necessary, or if it is requested by the injured person.
If you hit a parked or unattended vehicle, you have a duty to stop and try to find the owner or else leave a written note with your name and address if you can’t. You also have a duty to inform the police about the accident. (NRS 484E.040; NRS 484E.050).
- Hit-and-run Involving Property Damage Only. If the accident only involves property damage and you leave the scene and fail to exchange information, you are committing a misdemeanor. (NRS 484E.020). The penalties you can face for a hit-and-run that causes only property damage include:
- up to six months in jail, and/or
- a fine of up to $1,000, and
- six demerit points to your license.
- Hit-and-run Involving Injury or Death. You commit a category B felony if you flee the scene and fail to render aid after an accident that causes injury or death. If convicted, you face:
- a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years in prison, and
- a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000, and
- possible license suspension and revocation.
There’s a saying that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. The same can be said about leaving the scene of a car accident. If you are facing a hit-and-run charge, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid the serious consequences of a conviction. Please give us a call to discuss your situation.