Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident?

Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident?

July 30, 2023 Aarav Khatri

Understanding hit-and-runs

Before answering the all-important question- 'Can you get arrested for a minor hit-and-run accident?' which let me tell you, has caused me sleepless nights and incidences of puzzled looking coffee shop goers and office colleagues (amusing I know!), we need to first define what a 'hit-and-run' really is. So buckle up folks, tighten your seat belts because we are about to delve deep into the fascinating and complex world of hit-and-run!

Now, you might think hit-and-run is a term defined in motor-racing (it honestly sounds like a gimmick from the 'Fast and Furious' franchise, doesn't it?). Well, it's far from it actually. It refers to when a driver involved in a road traffic accident, be it tiny as a flea or significant as a T-rex, fails to halt and provide appropriate details to other necessary parties involved. If they handle the situation correctly? Cool! If not? That's what we're here to talk about.

The Legal consequences of hit-and-run: how bad could it be?

My beautiful wife, Bhavna Jagpal and I often have these late-night discussions, sipping on hot cocoa and throwing hypothetical legal scenarios at each other. Yes, our date nights are that nerdy! One such' throw' had me researching the legal repercussions of being involved in a hit-and-run.

Generally, whether minor or not, leaving the scene without stopping and providing necessary information can bring legal trouble. It can range from fines to driving license suspension, or in some serious cases, yes, you can get arrested for a hit-and-run! Surprising I know, but that’s how our structured legal system works.

The gravity of the incident and its impact!

Now, a cornerstone to discuss here is: how 'minor' is minor? The seriousness of the injury involved, or the damage caused can highly influence the extent of punishment. Many jurisdictions classify hit and run as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Just as your tomato is to your pasta sauce (I can promise you, no more food analogies!), the degree of accidents can be directly linked to how punitive the consequences may be. Therefore, a minor scrape in a parking lot is treated differently than a hit and run involving serious injury or death.

Does geography factor in?

Well, much like how Bhavna loves her spicy south Indian curry and I am a fan of princely Mughlai delicacies, individual tastes and preferences differ, just as traffic laws and hit-and-run consequences differ across various geographies and regions.

Whereas in some places, penalties might be more severe than others; other places might consider the extent of damage caused, the intention behind not stopping, and if you have any prior violations. It’s all quite intricate to understand. Sort of like my wife when she's on one of her shopping sprees at a mall!

Insurance woes and What not!

The part of the story which most people don't talk about is the post incident events – the dreaded insurance claims! Yes, apart from the possibility of being arrested and the way-too-long legal tussles, your insurance premium can skyrocket after a hit-and-run.

And not to mention, how tedious and time-consuming the whole process of claiming insurance can be. It honestly makes you wish you'd listened to your grandpa and took that defensive driving course! But fear not, as long as you're not at fault and you promptly report the accident, there are many insurance companies that cover hit and run incidents.

Takeaways: A review so far

We've sailed through a lot of choppy waters here, haven't we? Unraveled the enigma of hit-and-run. Dramatically exposed its consequences. Even made a pit stop at geographies and ended with your insurance company waving you goodbye with your wallet now much lighter.

And yet we continue to ask: 'Can you get arrested for a minor hit and run accident?' Sadly, yes, it’s indeed a possibility. The legal system is blind in its justice. But don't be disheartened, for every problem there is a solution.

Hit, stop, and not run!

Now, I'm no legal expert, but let me put forth something that you'll unanimously agree with. If you are involved in an accident, however minor it may seem, it’s always best to stop! Yes, stop people. Not out of fear of arrest or to gloriously carry the weight of responsibility, but for the simple act of ensuring that the other person involved is not hurt.

The best immediate course of action in any road-incident scenario is to remain calm, stop, check if everyone is safe and provide necessary details in the event of damage. It might cause minor inconveniences, but it's way better than getting entangled in legal troubles and losing your sleep over it!

As a final note, I’ll like to say, drive safe. It’s one of those underrated things we always put at the back of our heads but immensely important. And until we meet again, I'll be here, racking random legal brains with Bhavna on a perfectly serene date night!