Hit-and-Run Charges in Connecticut
In Connecticut, the charge of hit-and-run is termed “evading responsibility.” The charge is a serious one and may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the property damage and any personal injuries caused by the accident. With penalties for a felony conviction including jail time or a five-figure fine, mounting the strongest possible legal defense is a necessity.
Defining Evading Responsibility in Connecticut
Connecticut state law defines evading responsibility as the leaving of the scene of a car accident that has caused a personal injury or property damage without providing proper identification to the injured person(s), property owner(s), or without calling law enforcement.
Misdemeanor evading responsibility may be properly charged when either no personal injury or only “non-serious injury” has resulted. A non-serious injury may include bruises and whiplash. When one or more serious personal injuries have been caused by the accident, felony evading responsibility may be properly charged. Serious injuries include broken bones, spine damage, paralysis, head and neck trauma, and loss of life.
Of course, when the scene of an accident has been left, the full extent of property damage and personal injuries will not be immediately known. Similarly, if alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications have been involved, memory of the events in question may be imperfect. Later on, when charges are brought, they may come as a most unwanted surprise.
Penalties for Conviction of Evading Responsibility in Connecticut
Penalties for misdemeanor evading responsibility in Connecticut include a prison sentence of up to one year, probation, or fines of up to $600. For felony evading responsibility, penalties following conviction include a prison sentence between one and ten years or a fine of up to $10,000. The severity of these penalties may be surprising, given the fact that an arrest for evading responsibility bears little resemblance to an arrest for DUI or other criminal charges in the state.
In simple terms, the arrest does not occur on the roadside. Rather, an individual arrested for evading responsibility will receive a summons and complaint ticket. While this process may seem anything but hostile, the above-detailed penalties speak to the seriousness of the matter.
Evading Responsibility Defense in Connecticut
If you have been charged with evading responsibility, it is critical that you mount the strongest possible legal defense. An experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney will fight for your legal rights, holding the state’s prosecutor to its burden of proof and all evidentiary requirements.