4 Levels of Hit-and-Run Charges in Washington State

The Revised Code of Washington chapter 46.52 deals with drivers’ duties when they collide with other vehicles. Drivers are obligated to stop and take reasonable steps to notify the owner and exchange information. Should they flee the scene of an accident without doing so, it’s considered a hit and run.

There are four levels of hit-and-run charges in the state of Washington, each discussed below.

Unattended Hit and Run

Striking an unattended vehicle is a common type of hit-and-run case. This commonly occurs in parking lots and neighborhoods, in which a driver hits a parked car and then leaves without finding and speaking to the owner or without leaving a note.

An unattended hit and run is considered a simple misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If convicted, drivers with this type of hit-and-run charge will not have their licenses suspended.

Hit and Run of an Attended Vehicle

The second level of hit-and-run charges occurs when a driver hits an occupied vehicle but doesn’t cause any bodily harm. Washington law categorizes this as a gross misdemeanor, a more serious crime than an unattended hit and run.

Drivers convicted of a hit and run of an attended vehicle face up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Injury-Causing Hit and Run

When a driver hits another vehicle in an injury accident, he or she is required by RCW 46.52.020 to:

  • stop and pull over (trying not to obstruct traffic more than necessary);
  • exchange information if possible; and
  • remain at the scene of the accident until he or she can “render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying or the making of arrangements for the carrying of such person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary.”

If a driver flees the scene without performing the above duties, it’s a felony offense. A hit-and-run accident that causes harm to an occupant of the other vehicle is considered a class C felony.  In Washington state, class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Hit and Run that Causes a Fatality

When a driver flees the scene of an accident in which an occupant of the other vehicle was fatally injured, the crime will be charged as a class B felony. A class B felony could mean up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.

The penalties a hit-and-run driver faces are governed by the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines provide a sentencing range that judges abide by, which take several factors into consideration, including the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record.

Consulting a Defense Attorney

The consequence of conviction for a hit-and-run can be severe, especially if they are complicated by other criminal charges such as licensing and traffic offenses. If you have been charged with a hit-and-run accident in Tacoma, it’s imperative to speak to a local defense attorney for help navigating the Washington legal system. For a defense attorney in the Tacoma area, contact Daryl Graves Law at (253) 383-7777 to set up a case evaluation.

Client Testimonial:

Thorough, Thoughtful, and Professional!

“I have nothing but the highest praise for Jordan Foster, Daryl Graves, and the staff at Daryl Graves Law. Jordan handled my case which involved hit and run attended vehicle x2 and negligent driving, which to me were very serious, and by definition, criminal traffic charges. Jordan really put me at ease at the initial consultation as he made certain that I fully understood the process, timeline, and expectations. He kept me informed of the progress on his dealings with insurance companies, the affected parties, the prosecutor, and he specifically spelled out to me what I needed to do on my end to help him put together the most comprehensive and advantageous package for my defense. In summary, my confidence in Jordan Foster and the team at Daryl Graves Law was reinforced at each step along the way in dealing regarding this matter. This kept me at ease emotionally, as I knew Jordan was doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes and would leave nothing to chance. The ultimate resolution to this matter was very much in my favor, as I received a traffic infraction with all criminal charges dropped. I know that this was not a random result, but only due to the exemplary work of Jordan Foster and the team at Daryl Graves Law. They are truly pros!!!”

–D.M., Satisfied Client

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Daryl Graves Law, PLLC practices primarily in the areas of criminal defense law and personal injury. If you are seeking representation in one of these, or simply have a question that you would like to ask an attorney, feel free to call Daryl Graves Law, PLLC at 253-383-7777 or complete the form below.

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