Hit and Run in Seattle
According to the Seattle Times, in mid-June, a man was accused of stealing the personal vehicle of a Seattle police officer after rear-ending another vehicle. The man was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle when he hit another vehicle, ultimately leading to a three-car crash. An off-duty officer pulled over to help with the collision and was fatally struck by a fourth vehicle and killed. The man driving the stolen U-haul then stole the officer’s car, dumping it some two miles away. He then stole the officer’s backpack, her badge, and her gun, wiped down the vehicle, and fled on foot. When he was apprehended, the 49-year-old man—who was not named at the time—was held on $325,000 bail.
The Seriousness of Hit and Run Crimes in Seattle
In the state of Washington, a hit and run accident occurs when a person involved in an auto accident leaves the scene without leaving the necessary information. Any person involved in an auto accident is legally required to stop, provide contact information, vehicle license number, and insurance information to the other driver, show his or her driver’s license to others involved in the accident and render reasonable assistance to those injured.
Those who violate these laws could be charged with a criminal offense. If convicted, the penalties for the hit and run would depend on the level of damage:
- If death resulted from the hit and run, the defendant could be charged with a Blass B felony, punishable by a fine as large as $20,000, up to ten years in prison, or both.
- If the accident caused injury to another human being, the defendant could be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by a fine as large as $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
- If the accident involved striking the body of a deceased person, the defendant could be charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines, up to a year in prison, or both.
- If the accident resulted in damage to a vehicle or other property, the defendant could be charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to $5,000 in fines, up to a year in prison, or both.
A person convicted of hit and run in any of the above circumstances will also have his or her driver’s license revoked for a period of time.
Hit and run unattended occurs when a driver collides with an unattended vehicle and fails to stop and attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle or fails to at least leave his or her name and address in a conspicuous place on the other vehicle. Hit and run unattended is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Washington, with maximum penalties of $1,000 in fines, up to ninety days in jail, or both.
A person charged with a hit and run is facing serious charges and serious potential penalties in the event of a conviction. Because of this, it is imperative to speak to an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney who can defend your charges in the best way possible. While your defense will be unique to your specific situation, some potential defenses to hit and run include:
- You had an emergency situation that required your immediate attention, or
- You were unaware of any damage to property or person.
Contact Our Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
If you are facing hit and run charges in Seattle, or you are under investigation for a hit and run accident, it is important to know where you can turn for help. Our Seattle criminal defense attorneys can examine your case and help you build a solid defense against these serious charges. We can work to keep you out of jail and even fight to keep you from being charged with a hit-and-run crime altogether.
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC, have defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, and throughout the state of Washington. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our confidential contact form. We know how to fight serious criminal charges and can protect your future. Call us today!