How Long After A Hit And Run Accident Can You Be Charged (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Within Maximum Three Years

Hit and run can be a serious offense in the eyes of the law. It can be harmful to both someone’s property and life. Also, a hit-and-run accident can happen due to several reasons. 

It can be unintentionally under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There can be minor as well as fatal consequences in some cases. There are cases where it can also be intentional. The accused in such a case can be charged based on the type of accident.

There can be terms and conditions concerning what are the charges that are filed against the accused. However, it can take various instances when the accused will be charged for the offense.

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How Long After A Hit And Run Accident Can You Be Charged?

An accident or collision by any driver is reported to the police. It is considered to be a hit-and-run case when the driver flees the accident location after the accident. Hit-and-run cases happen when a person is afraid of the legal consequence after an accident. There are mainly two types of hit-and-run cases. The type is the deciding factor that will determine the time under which the accused is charged for the accident. 

The first type of hit-and-run is the misdemeanor case. A case is supposed to be charged as a misdemeanor case if the accident has resulted only in property damage. In such a case, the time limit in which a person will be charged is a year from the date of the accident.

If the accident that has happened results in massive property damage or loss of life of the victim or major injuries, it is to be charged as a felony. Under felony, the time limit under which a person is to be charged is more than a year.

The timing can be more dependent upon the facts related to the case and the findings on inspection of the accident location. For felony cases, the accused is to be charged within the time limit of three years minimum.

CaseTimeframe within which the accused will be charged
Misdemeanor caseWithin one year
Felony caseWithin three years

Why Can You Be Charged With A Hit And Run Case After So Long?

There are laws in place to safeguard the citizens and to punish the people who commit a hit-and-run crime. If a person breaks any driving or traffic rule, they need to face prosecution by an attorney. The primary condition is that the criminal charges are pressed against the accused for breaking the law.

The time limit of pressing charges for a hit-and-run case has already been prescribed. There are a few reasons behind specific time frames for which the process of pressing the charges is valid. The reasons are as follows:

  • The primary condition is the type of accident that happens. If the accident falls into the category of a misdemeanor, the charges have to be filed in a year. While for a felony, the charges are supposed to file within three years.
  • Another important reason for the time limit is the SOL, also known as the Statute Of Limitations. As per the Statue Of Limitation, the prosecutor must press charges within one year of misdemeanor offenses. Once the period ends, the prosecutor or the victim can file charges against the accused. 
  • The time limit is given to build a case against the accused. A good case has all the facts in order. Collecting facts, and investigating takes time. Hence, a time frame of one or three years is given to the prosecutor to press charges.

Conclusion

The time frame that is provided for the prosecution can also vary from state to state based upon the law in that state about hit-and-run cases. The legal consequence of a hit-and-run case can be both monetary and jail time. When the person has committed a misdemeanor offense, it might lead to a fine that the accused will pay.

But in the case of a felony, the accused has to pay the fine, plus they also get jail time. The penalty and the jail time will depend on the severity of property damage and loss of life or injuries.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457508002194
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/421236
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