When is a Hit-and-run a Felony in Nebraska?
A hit-and-run accident can be a frightening incident to experience. No one wants to be involved in a vehicle accident, but usually, the parties involved will stop, exchange insurance information, and any dispute is eventually resolved. In a hit-and-run, the responsible driver leaves the scene. The driver may be drunk, or drug intoxicated, has no car insurance, or just doesn’t want to face the consequences of their actions. In these cases, the legal issues can become complicated.
Many hit-and-run drivers are eventually identified and charged, either with a felony or misdemeanor. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. If another party is injured, you are legally required to stop and render aid. When a vehicle crash leads to property damage, injury, or loss of life, the responsible driver must stop.
Hit-and-run — Felony or Misdemeanor?
Property Damage Hit-and-run Cases
If the accident led to property damage, the charge is a Class II misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000. A prior conviction for a similar offense within 12 years can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, with penalties of up to one year in jail. If you are facing misdemeanor hit-and-run charges, it is not a minor legal problem – you could have your driver’s license revoked, be incarcerated, and be forced to pay expensive fines.
Hit-and-run with Injuries or Death
If a person was injured in a car accident, and the responsible driver leaves the scene and is then identified and charged, the driver will likely be charged with a Class IIIA felony. If convicted, the penalties can include up to three years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
If the hit-and-run led to serious or fatal injuries and the driver identified, they will be charged with a Class III felony, which carries penalties of up to four years, and driver’s license revocation for as long as 15 years.
Defending Hit-and-run Charges: What’s the Strategy?
Never assume you should just plead guilty. Many factors in the case could allow you to avoid the most serious consequences, based on the facts in the case. Some defenses for a hit-and-run charge include:
- The driver was unaware that a crash occurred.
- The accused driver was not driving the vehicle when the accident occurred.
- Law enforcement violated the rights of the accused, such as an illegal search seizure, or interrogation.
Your Rights Matter.
An accused individualhas rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. We urge you to exercise your rights and refuse to speak with an accident investigator or law enforcement without your attorney present. You may be completely innocent, or there were other mitigating factors, but trying to explain your side of the story typically makes matters worse.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Early intervention in a hit-and-run case can make a significant difference in the level of the charges filed, and in the final outcome of your case. The talent, experience, and legal skills of your criminal defense lawyer are important. Ensure you are represented by an attorney who has a track record of achieving positive outcomes in challenging cases.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C. in Omaha, our legal team is deeply committed to the people we represent. In a case of hit-and-run, whether felony or misdemeanor, we do all we can to reduce the damage, whether seeking a case dismissal, reduced charge, or pursuing a “not guilty” verdict at trial. Call (402) 505-8234 for a free case consultation.
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