Criminal Law

What Is a Hit and Run?

By Jessica Gillespie, Legal Researcher and Editor
A hit and run involves a driver fleeing the scene of an accident.

A hit and run is a crime where a driver flees the scene of a collision. To be more specific, the typical elements of a hit and run are a driver being involved in a car crash and failing to:

  • stop at the scene of the accident
  • provide identification, or
  • offer help to anyone injured in the accident.

In most states, a hit and run can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. Fleeing after an accident that causes serious injury will normally result in a felony charge. On the other hand, where no one is injured the charge is often a misdemeanor.

A hit and run often involves an accident between moving cars, but the crime can also involve a car striking a pedestrian or bicyclist—or even stationary property. Hit-and-run law—and consequences—vary somewhat from state to state. Make sure to consult an experienced lawyer if you want to know how the law applies to your situation.

Go to the main crime definitions FAQ page.

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