Interviewer: Are there any common misconceptions that people have about hit and run cases?
Daniel Hoarfrost: You know, more often than not, they’re located because typically, in most auto collisions, witnesses hate to stop and get involved. But most people do tend to, if they see a hit and run driver take off, they feel like they should get involved.
A Hit and Run Driver Is Usually Located due to Descriptions Provided by Witnesses
They do report license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions, which can help. A hit and run is a criminal offense, and police do get involved. So really, more often than not, the hit and run driver’s going to be located. I have to say, I see a higher percentage of uninsured motorist claims when there’s been a hit and run. It makes you think probably the reason they took off was because they didn’t have insurance and they were trying to escape liability.
Interviewer: What’s usually their excuse after a hit and run driver has been located?
Daniel Hoarfrost: Well, you hear every explanation that you could imagine. More often, it’s a question of, “Oh, I didn’t realize I hit them,” or something similar.
What Are the Penalties for a Hit and Run Conviction?
Interviewer: So, if they get caught, what are some of the penalties that they’re going to be facing?
Daniel Hoarfrost: Well it’s a Class A misdemeanor, so they can go up to a year in jail. It just depends on how aggravated the circumstances are. If they are cooperative and remorseful, more often than not, unless they have a really bad driving record, the charge will be plea bargained down to a lower charge, and probably a fine or probation.
But that’s the criminal system. They’ve committed a crime.
On the criminal side of it, they can face anything up to a year in jail. From the injured party’s concern, it’s really more a question of whether they’re carrying insurance, and if so, whether they’re carrying enough insurance.