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Dysart Willis

Things to know about hit-and-run charges in North Carolina

After an accident, the scene can be chaotic and confusing. This may cause some individuals to flee. However, if caught, those drivers may face hit-and-run charges.

There are a few key things to know about hit-and-run accidents, particularly in North Carolina.

Proving process

In the case of a hit-and-run, it is the State's responsibility to prove that the individual is guilty. To prove this, there are a few elements that the State must show, including:

  • An individual was a driver in an accident that caused injury, death or at least $1,000 in property damage.
  • A driver caused damage to a seized vehicle.
  • The driver did not immediately notify law enforcement by the quickest means of communication, in accordance with the law.

The State must prove these elements beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, if the defendant is able to create the smallest bit of doubt, it may be possible to beat the charges. Having a knowledgeable attorney may be helpful in creating and arguing a successful defense.

Charges and penalties

Individuals may face different penalties depending upon the damage that the accident causes, as well as what part of the protocol the driver failed to follow. In accordance with North Carolina law, individuals must follow a set protocol:

  • Stay at the scene
  • Move to a safe area if possible
  • Offer assistance to the other driver if needed
  • Contact law enforcement
  • Exchange information with the other driver
  • Try to collect contact information of any witnesses

Not following any part of the protocol may result in a charge. Considering all factors, the charges may range from a misdemeanor to a felony, which would determine the penalty.

It is critical to understand the process for a hit-and-run charge in order to determine the best course of action. A person should consider seeking counsel and taking some time to understand the law fully, before making any decisions.