DC Hit and Run Lawyer

DC Hit and Run Explained

The offense of “leaving after colliding” (LAC)—more colloquially known as “hit and run”—is a serious offense in the District of Columbia. A conviction for this offense can lead to the revocation of your license, a fine, and even jail time.

DC Hit and Run

Due to the strict nature of the hit and run laws in DC, you may not even be aware that you committed LAC until you are contacted by the police regarding an incident. If you are contacted about involvement with an LAC incident, it is important to consult a knowledgeable DC Hit and Run lawyer immediately so you know your options and how to move forward.

What Does Leaving After Colliding (LAC) or Hit and Run Mean in DC?

Per DC Code §50–2201.05c there are two types of LAC offenses in DC:

  1. An LAC incident involving only property damage or damage to a domestic animal.
  2. An LAC incident involving injury to a person.

LAC Involving Damage Only to Property or a Domestic Animal

The first type—damage only to property or a domestic animal—is the less serious offense. In this case, the law dictates that you must provide your identifying information to the owner of the property or domestic animal. If the owner is not present, you need to provide identifying information to the police and report the location of the collision. You also need to make a report to the police if the aftermath of a collision poses a risk to others, such debris blocking off a road and making it hard to drive.

LAC Involving Injury to a Person

The second type—injury to a person—requires you to call 911 and emergency assistance if necessary. You also need to remain on the scene of the incident until the police arrive and provide identifying information to both the police and the injured person, even if there was no need to call for emergency assistance. This is often where the mistakes happen. Even if you gave your identifying information to the other party involved in the collision, driving off before the police arrive will still get you hit with an LAC charge. 

In cases like this, it is also important to remember that an “injury to a person” does not have to involve a significant or even apparent injury. If the other party to the collision claims to “feel bad” or has a slight headache as a result of a collision, that degree of injury is enough to make leaving the scene before the police arrive an LAC involving damage to a person.

What is the Penalty for a Hit and Run in DC?

LAC Involving Damage Only to Property or a Domestic Animal

If you are convicted of LAC involving only damage to property or a domestic animal, you will either be fined up to $250, imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both. A second and subsequent conviction for the offense involves fines up to $500, 90 days of jail time, or both.

A conviction of this offense will cause the DMV to add 8 points to your driver’s license. This can result in suspension of your license for 90 days if you end up with 10-11 points in total, or complete revocation of your license if you end up with 12 points or more.  

LAC Involving Injury to a Person

If you are convicted of LAC involving injury to a person, you will either be fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for not more than 180 days, or both. A second and subsequent conviction for the offense involves fines up to $2,500, 1 year of jail time, or both.

A conviction of this offense will cause the DMV to add 12 points to your driver’s license, which results in an immediate revocation of your license.

What to Do When Facing a Hit and Run Charge in DC

There are several defenses against a hit and run charge in DC.

Sometimes, a collision is so minor that you were honestly unaware that a collision happened in the first place. That can be a defense, since the prosecutor has to prove that you knew or had reason to believe you were involved in a collision.

If the other party in the collision acts extremely aggressively and caused you to leave the scene out of legitimate fear for your safety, that can be another defense to a hit and run charge. 

The specifics necessary for these and other defenses to hold up require professional analysis of the circumstances combined with aggressive defense in court by an experienced DC Hit and Run Lawyer, so it is important to talk with a lawyer right away if you are facing hit and run charges in DC.

It is especially vital to consult with a DC Hit and Run Lawyer if the DC police contact you about a hit and run incident. Often, they will call or send a letter asking you to come down to the station for an interview. It might seem like a relatively benign request, but what the police are trying to do is get you to admit that you were the driver of the vehicle involved in that incident so they can file an arrest warrant.

It is important to remember that you have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The only response to the police when they ask you to talk to them about a hit and run incident should be “I will be contacting a lawyer”. The accomplished DC Hit and Run Lawyers at Ervin Kibria Law are always ready to provide vigorous assistance for those facing charges for LAC or hit and run in the District of Columbia. Contact us for a free consultation today to explore your options.