A hit and run describes an unlawful act of a driver hitting a vehicle then fleeing the scene of the accident. In a civil suit, the driver usually pays for damages related to the crash. However, in Washington State, it is also a crime to hit another vehicle and flee the scene without exchanging information.

What the Law in Washington State Regarding Hit and Run?

The State has two laws regarding hit and run. The severity of the charge depends on whether the driver injured another person or caused their death, and if the vehicle was attended or unattended at the time.

What is Hit and Run Unattended Mean?

An “unattended” hit and run means the driver hit another motor vehicle, that was unoccupied, and then fled the scene. So the key difference is that at the time of the incident, no one was in the vehicle. Washington State law requires drivers who hit another vehicle to stop and try to locate the owner of the other vehicle to exchange information.

What’s the difference between Unattended and Attended?

A defendant is accused of hit and run attended, when there is a driver in the other motor vehicle. A defendant convicted of an attended hit and run will face time in prison, instead of jail. The defendant can face up to 5 years in prison if the other driver is injured in the accident. If the victim dies because of the hit and run, then the defendant may spend up to 10 years in prison. If no one is injured or dies, then it’s considered a gross misdemeanor with at least 90 days in jail.

What is the Punishment for Hit and Run Unattended in Washington State?

A driver convicted of misdemeanor hit and run unattended may face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Will I Lose My Driver’s License?

No, a conviction for an unattended hit and run does not result in a suspension of the defendant’s license. But, a convicted defendant may have to pay for high risk car insurance, which costs significantly more than normal insurance.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me with My Hit and Run Case?

Yes. Contact a Washington traffic violation lawyer to determine how to proceed with your case.