Note: This post was last updated on February 23, 2023.
Experts to Navigate the Complexities of Colorado Criminal Law Serving Those Charged with Hit-and-Run Cases
Leaving the scene of an accident in the state of Colorado is considered a hit-and-run offense. Even if you did not cause the accident, never leave the scene without following the explicit rules of the statute. The statute’s definition of a hit-and-run does not cover fault; therefore, you could face serious penalties (including jail time) for leaving the scene of an accident, even if you were not at fault for the incident initially. If you were at fault for the incident, leaving the scene can create even more severe penalties.
You Have a Duty to Stop
After a motor vehicle accident occurs, you must stop as soon as you can and remain at the scene of the accident. You are required by law to exchange information with the other party involved and in a more serious accident, you are required to contact the police department in the area.
If there is an injury, you are required to provide assistance within reasonable means. This means that you must contact emergency personnel, call 911, or do your best to assist the injured until help arrives.
If you do not stop or fulfill your duties to provide aid, you may face criminal charges.
The charges you face depend on the severity of the incident, and whether someone was hurt. When accidents involve serious injuries, the penalties for leaving the scene are much harsher than if there are no injuries present.
What Are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene?
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Colorado are harsh, and include:
- Only Property Damage – You may face a Class 2 misdemeanor, which includes up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Injury to Another – You are upgraded to a Class 1 misdemeanor, which includes up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
- Serious Bodily Harm to Another – Upgraded to a Class 5 felony, which includes one to three years in prison, and fines as high as $500,000.
- Death – Upgraded to a Class 3 felony, which includes four to 12 years in prison, and fines as high as $750,000.
Arrested for Leaving the Scene? Contact an Attorney Immediately
After an accident, you may experience heightened adrenaline, which impedes your ability to make a sound decision. While the courts will not accept that excuse, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney and discuss what happened.
You will be required to appear in court, and you must defend your actions for leaving the scene of the accident. A criminal defense attorney can represent you and help present your defense for your actions.
Every hit-and-run case is different, and every judge or jury hearing the case varies. Therefore, you cannot predict the outcome of your case. Instead, you need a criminal defense attorney there to help you put the odds in your favor.