A hit-skip offense, or a hit-and-run, is a serious crime in Ohio. If you receive a hit-skip conviction in Columbus, you could face expensive fines, driver’s license suspension and even jail time.
Defending your rights in the face of a hit-skip infraction could enable you to avoid serious penalties. The courts might even dismiss the charges against you if your attorney comes through with a strong defense.
What are Ohio’s hit skip laws?
Understanding the details of the law you allegedly broke could help you form a defense. Ohio Revised Code 4549.02 requires all drivers to immediately stop at the scene of any accident with people or property on public roads. You must remain at the scene until you have exchanged contact information with the other driver or left a note with this information on a parked vehicle.
If you stopped at the scene but left before giving the owner of the other vehicle, anyone injured in the accident or a responding police officer your information, you could technically receive a hit-skip charge. The same is true if you left without calling for medical help if someone had an injury. You could make many mistakes that result in a hit-skip charge in Columbus.
Common defenses for a hit-skip charge
Hit-skip charge defenses available will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation. A lawyer can investigate the accident to find ways to protect your freedoms. A few defense options may include the following:
- You were not the one driving the vehicle
- You did not realize you hit a person or property
- You were in a single-vehicle accident
- An officer arrested you before your 24-hour reporting period ended
- The officer made a clerical mistake in writing your ticket
You may be able to lower the misdemeanor charge down to a noncriminal traffic infraction with lesser penalties, or even to convince the courts to dismiss the charge entirely.