Traffic Law: Leaving the Scene of an Accident
According to Ohio law, every individual is required to stop after an accident on public roads or highways. Failure to do this act is commonly known as hit and run or leaving the scene. A person who does not stop after an accident in Ohio can be charged with a criminal offense. Depending on whether death or bodily injury occurs from the accident, an individual can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense if they fail to stop their vehicle after an accident.
If you have been charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident, also know as hit/skip, contact the office of Attorney Jeffrey G. Edleman in Amherst, Ohio. We represent clients charged with this offense in all municipal courts within Lorain County (Elyria, Lorain, Vermilion, Avon Lake, Oberlin) and some municipal courts outside of Lorain County.
Ohio Requirement to Stop After an Accident
According to Ohio Rev. Code § 4549.02, Stopping After Accident on Public Roads or Highways is immediately required by a person driving or operating a motor vehicle on public roads or highways who had knowledge of the accident or collision. They are also required to stay at the scene until they have given their information to the other driver, any person injured, or the police officer.
If a person injured in the accident is unable to record or comprehend the alleged offender’s information, the alleged offender is required to notify the nearest police authority about the accident and remain at the scene until a police officer arrives, unless removed from the scene by an emergency vehicle.
If an individual is involved in an accident with an unoccupied or unattended motor vehicle, the individual secure the required information to a noticeable place on the unattended vehicle.
Any driver involved in an accident in Ohio must stop and give the following information to the other driver, anyone injured in the crash, or any police officer arriving at the scene:
- The vehicle operator’s name;
- The vehicle operator’s address;
- The registered number of the vehicle; and/or
- If not the vehicle owner, the name and address of the owner.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene in Ohio
Under section 4549.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person who does not stop after an accident on public roads or highways can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a fine not more than $1,000.
If the accident results in serious physical harm to a person, the alleged offender who failed to stop can be convicted of a felony of the fifth degree. This degree of offense can result in a prison sentence from six months to one year and/or fines up to $2,500.
If the accident results in the death of a person, the individual who allegedly failed to stop after the collision can be charged with a felony of the third degree. This offense is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from one to five years and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
An individual who has violated this statute will receive a class five suspension, which will result in a suspension from at least six months to three years.
Additionally, an individual who is charged with failure to stop after a collision can receive six points under Ohio’s driving point system. If anyone receives 12 or more points within a two-year period, their license and driving privileges will be suspended under a class D suspension. This may result in a suspension for up to six months.
Related Hit and Run Traffic Offenses
Ohio Rev. Code § 4549.021 - Stopping After an Accident on Other than Public Roads or Highways – This statute requires an individual driving or operating a motor vehicle on any public or private property to stop after an accident or collision resulting in injury or damage to persons or property when they had knowledge of the accident or collision. They are also required to submit their information within twenty-four hours to a law enforcement officer if they were previously unable to give the information to the owner. This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree or felony of the fifth or third degree. Additionally, the alleged offender’s driver’s license will be suspended under a class five suspension, which will result in a suspension from at least six months to three years.
Ohio Rev. Code § 4549.03 - Stopping After an Accident Involving Damage to Realty or Personal Property Attached to Real Property – This statute requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in property damage to real property or personal property attached to real property to take reasonable steps to locate the owner of the property and give them their information. If they are unable to locate the owner after a reasonable search, they are required to submit their information within twenty-four hours to a law enforcement officer. A violation of this statute is punishable as a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Jeffrey G. Edleman
Attorney At Law
260 S. Main St., Suite 108
Amherst, OH 44001
T: (440) 823-4077
F: (440) 984-3338