The crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident, or Hit and Run, can be charged with the risk of a heavy prison sentence, if a person is involved in a collision or automobile accident leaves the scene, and a person in either vehicle suffers serious bodily injury or dies. Under C.R.S. 42-4-1601, the Colorado lawmakers have set forth a strict scheme in Douglas County and across Colorado designed to greatly increase prior penalties which were thought to be too weak for the traffic crime of Leaving the Scene. While ignorance of the law is no excuse, we doubt that these more severe penalties will reduce the number of Hit and Run Collisions in Colorado.
Felony Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Jefferson County
Colorado law now provides the following classes which create crimes for simply leaving the scene of a traffic accident or collision:
- If the accident involves injury to any person, it is a Class 1 Misdemeanor
- If the accident involves serious bodily injury to any person, it is a Class 4 Felony to leave the scene
- If the accident involves the death of any person, it is a Class 3 Felony to leave the scene
Interestingly, the classifications listed above arise regardless of who was at fault in the car crash. In addition to other penalties which could include a sentence to the Adams County, Colorado Jail or the Colorado Department of Corrections (Prison), the person convicted will have their driver’s license revoked.
A Valid Defense to Hit and Run Accidents in Arapahoe County
The only defense we are aware of under the Colorado statute is that the driver who left the scene left in order to report the collision. Prior to leaving the scene to report the accident, the driver must give notice of his identity, his insurance information, and aid to any injured persons. To some extent, these requirements don’t make sense if the injured person is in need of immediate medical attention or is unconscious and unable to receive the notice or information.
If you are ever involved in a traffic collision or motorvehicle accident in Denver or Eagle County, always stop, and provide notice, information and aid. Then report the crash to a police agency by calling 911. If you think you might have any fault in the accident, refrain from answering police questions and call the best traffic and Leaving the Scene of an Accident attorneys at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.