Some drivers may panic after causing a car accident, especially if they had been drinking before the crash occurred. However, fleeing the scene of the accident is illegal in Ohio, and is often seen as an admission of guilt by police, prosecutors, and judges. If you do not stay at the scene, you may be charged with a “hit skip,” a separate crime from your OVI or DUI offense that can increase the potential penalties you are facing.
You May Be Charged With a “Hit Skip” in Addition to Ohio DUI Charges
State law requires any driver involved in an accident to stop immediately, contact law enforcement and medical assistance, and exchange sufficient contact information with the injured party. Charges for fleeing the scene of an accident vary depending on whether the crash involved:
- Property damage only. Under Ohio law, drivers are still required to leave their contact information even if there were no injuries or the car they struck was unoccupied. Failure to leave contact information, seek out the owner, or report the incident can result in first-degree misdemeanor charges. If convicted, you may spend up to 180 days in jail, face fines up to $1,000, be ordered to pay the owner for the damage to the vehicle, incur points on your driver’s license, and face driver’s license suspension.
- Serious injures. If you left the scene of a crash that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person, you can be charged with a fifth-degree felony offense and face up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
- Fatal injuries. If the accident resulted in the death of another person, you can be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- High BAC. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit of .08 when you caused an accident that resulted in bodily harm or death, you could face one or more counts of vehicular assault or homicide.
Are you or someone you know facing DUI / OVI charges?
If you are facing DUI charges, you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.