Car accidents are frightening events, even if no one sustains injuries. Perhaps someone hit another driver, and while the other vehicle sustains only minor damage, the at-fault party panics and flees. Or maybe someone hit a parked vehicle and drove away without leaving contact information.
A hit-and-run is a serious crime, even if no one was hurt. The penalty for a hit-and-run with no injuries varies from state to state but may include fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension. Sadaka Law can break down what penalties a driver may face, what factors may influence punishment, and more.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for a Hit-And-Run With No Injuries?
When a driver is in an accident — whether or not they’re at fault — they should remain at the scene to:
- Exchange information with the other driver.
- Contact the police and wait for them to arrive.
- Check whether anyone has sustained injuries.
Leaving the scene of the accident is considered a hit-and-run.
Accidents without injuries may seem less severe to some drivers — and in some ways, this is true. However, a hit-and-run is still a crime, regardless of the severity. The penalty for a hit-and-run with no injuries may not be steep, but it can still include criminal charges.
What Kinds of Fines Are Imposed?
The penalty for a hit-and-run with no injuries varies from state to state, but generally, convicted individuals need to pay a fine. The amount paid depends on local laws and regulations. For example:
- In New York, a hit-and-run with no injuries is considered a traffic violation, and you may need to pay a fine of $250.
- In New Jersey, the fine may be steeper, ranging from $200 to $400.
While these are comparatively small fines, they can still cause financial strain — especially for individuals who don’t have much extra money to spare.
Is Probation a Possible Penalty?
Generally, probation is only a penalty for hit-and-run accidents that end in injuries. That said, this can vary on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to double-check local laws.
What Is the Potential Jail Time?
If someone faces hit-and-run charges, they will likely have to spend a short amount of time in jail. The actual length depends on the state. In New York, for example, an individual may spend up to 15 days in jail; in New Jersey, that time lengthens to 30 days. While not an extended period, jail time still means less freedom, disrupted activities, and a criminal record.
What Are the Civil Penalties?
Hit-and-run convictions come with more than just criminal charges. Perpetrators may find themselves dealing with a range of civil penalties, from increased insurance premiums to legal action.
Being in an accident is a frightening experience. Even if no one was injured, the victims may deal with emotional stress, property damage, and more. Someone may choose to pursue a court case, even if the accident was relatively minor.
The at-fault driver, if convicted, may need to pay the victim damages for emotional distress, lost wages, and more. In addition, the at-fault driver may face punitive charges — that is, charges designed to punish an individual and reduce the risk of a repeat offense.
Property Damage and Liability
Sometimes, property damage in an accident is minor — for example, maybe the other car simply sustained a small dent in the bumper. Other times, the accident may render the car unusable.
Regardless of the severity, victims may struggle to pay for the damage. Because of this, they may pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.
Auto insurance is often expensive enough on its own, but that price may increase should someone face a hit-and-run conviction. The premium payments will likely rise, though the exact amount varies depending on the company and the severity of the accident. In more serious cases, the insurance company may cancel the policy altogether.
Factors That Can Influence the Penalties for a Hit-and-Run With No Injuries
While at-fault drivers may face a range of consequences, the actual penalty for a hit-and-run with no injuries may increase or decrease based on certain factors.
Having prior criminal offenses may affect the severity of the penalties.
For example, say a driver has a previous hit-and-run conviction. If police catch them again, they may face steeper fines, longer jail time, or a suspended or revoked license. Conversely, if this is their first offense, they may face fewer consequences.
Severity of the Accident
Even accidents without injuries can vary in severity. Minor fender benders likely won’t carry severe penalties; conversely, a totaled car may lead to more serious consequences.
Cooperation With Authorities
Facing hit-and-run charges is frightening, and some people may panic. However, it’s important to remain calm and work with law enforcement. Cooperating likely won’t eliminate the charges, but it can lessen them. Conversely, resisting arrest or trying to flee may mean higher fines or longer jail time.
How Do the Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Without Injuries Compare to a Hit-And-Run With Injuries?
While penalties for a hit-and-run accident with no injuries may be distressing, they’re relatively minor. If someone’s injured, the at-fault driver may face steep consequences, depending on the severity. In New York, for example:
- Minor injuries mean facing misdemeanor hit-and-run charges. The exact penalties depend on the severity; a Class B misdemeanor means a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail, while a Class A misdemeanor means a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
- Severe injuries mean potential felony charges. For a Class E felony, you may need to pay a fine of $2,500 and spend up to four years in prison.
- Fatalities come with more severe consequences. A Class D felony includes a fine of $5,000 and up to seven years in prison.
Each state is different, so it’s important to check local laws to determine the exact consequences.
Will Your Driver’s License Be Suspended for a Hit-and-Run With No Injuries?
Even hit-and-run accidents without injuries may result in a license suspension. A driver might lose their license for several months if convicted.
In addition, a hit-and-run will add points to a driver’s license. If someone builds enough of these points, they could have their license suspended or permanently revoked.
How Can Victims Be Compensated for Damages in Hit-and-Run Cases With No Injuries?
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you may be able to take legal action, even if no one sustained injuries. Victims can pursue damages for, among other things:
- Property damage
- Punitive damages
- Emotional distress
This compensation may come from an insurance company (yours or the at-fault driver’s) or fines imposed by the court.
It’s important to remain calm after an accident. If you’re the victim, you should:
- Contact the police. You’ll need to file a report if you want to pursue compensation. In addition, the police can help you track down the at-fault driver.
- Notify your insurance company. Even if you pursue damages, you must let your insurance company know what happened. Contact them to file a claim and keep them informed.
- Take photographs of the damage. Take pictures of any damage, no matter how small, for your records. Documenting the damage can help make the insurance claim process easier. In addition, if police catch the perpetrator, you may need photographic evidence for your case.
- Speak to any witnesses. Sometimes, people may have witnessed the accident. If they did, they may be able to provide identifying information — for example, what sort of car the perpetrator was driving. Document this information carefully for future use.
- Reach out to an attorney. An attorney can assist with minor and major accidents. They can assess your case to determine whether you should pursue legal action, gather evidence, and otherwise support you.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Hit-and-Run Accident?
The statute of limitations is how much time you have to file a lawsuit for a hit-and-run. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years; in New Jersey, the statute of limitations is two years. While this may seem like a long time, it’s still important to reach out to an attorney quickly if you want to pursue legal action.
As a victim of an accident, you’re likely looking for some recourse. Hit-and-run accidents can be frustrating, even if no one sustains injuries. A qualified lawyer can help you pursue damages, provide support, and offer advice on how to proceed.
Sadaka Law offers assistance to car accident victims. We have extensive experience handling personal injury cases, assisting with workers’ compensation, and more. Our aim is to guide our clients through this difficult time and provide stalwart support.
Our knowledgeable lawyers can answer a range of questions, from “What is the penalty for a hit-and-run with no injuries?” to “What types of car accidents might someone face?” Call (800) 810-3457 to speak to an attorney and request help for your personal injury case.