Hit And Run Charges in Missouri
April 5, 2022
If you’re charged with a hit-and-run offense in Missouri, you could be facing serious penalties. It’s typically in your best interest to consult with a hit-and-run lawyer as soon as possible.
A hit and run accident conviction could lead to:
- A class A misdemeanor, class E felony offense, or class D felony if a death occurs
- Up to 1 – 7 years incarceration
- Fines between $1,000 – $10,000
- 6 to 12 point deduction on your driver’s license
Additionally, if you’re convicted for a hit and run in Missouri, it could remain on your criminal record forever. Contact Kirsch & Kirsch today for a free case evaluation with a Missouri criminal defense lawyer.
Continue reading to learn more about hit and run charges, penalties, and defenses.
What is Considered Hit And Run in Missouri?
According to MO. Rev. Stat. § 577.060, and individual can be convicted of leaving the scene of an accident (i.e., hit and run) if while they operate a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage and:
With the knowledge that the accident occurred, leaves the scene without giving their information (i.e., name, address, registration, etc.) to the other party involved or a police officer.
Generally, leaving the scene of an accident is a class a misdemeanor. However, defendants may face class E felony charges if:
- The accident caused physical injury to another party
- The damage exceeds $1,000
- The defendant was previously convicted for leaving the scene of an accident
Further, a hit and run in Missouri is a class D felony if the accident results in the death of another party.
How Long After a Hit And Run Can You Be Charged?
In most cases, prosecutors have a specific amount of time to bring criminal charges in misdemeanor and felony cases. In Missouri, the prosecution has up to one year to prosecute misdemeanor hit and run charges and up to three years to prosecute felony charges.
However, it’s important to note that evading prosecution until the criminal statute of limitations expires is never a good idea. In most cases, if an individual is found to have attempted evading charges, the prosecution is given more time to pursue a conviction.
Is Fleeing The Scene of an Accident a Felony in Missouri?
Not always, but it can be. If you leave the scene of an accident that causes injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000, you will likely face felony charges. Further, if you’ve been previously convicted of leaving the scene of an accident, you could be charged with a felony.
Generally, the best way to avoid hit and run charges is to remain at the accident scene until you can give your information to the other party involved or law enforcement arrives. However, mistakes happen. Learn about possible defenses to hit and run offenses below.
Defenses to Hit And Run Charges
Defending a hit-and-run charge under MO. Rev. Stat. § 577.060 will depend on the facts of your case. Every accident is different, and there may be special circumstances that allow for viable defenses to leave the scene.
Remember, if every criminal element is not met, the defendant is relieved of criminal liability. A few of the most common defenses to hit and run charges in Missouri include but are not limited to:
- You were not driving the vehicle involved in the accident
- You did not leave the scene willfully
- You did not willfully fail to give your information to the police or another party
- You were not aware of the accident or damage
- You did not know that injuries occurred
Hit and run charges don’t have to result in a conviction. Working with a skilled attorney typically gives you the best chance at reduced or dismissed charges. Learn how the hit and run criminal defense lawyers at Kirsch & Kirsch can help below.
Contact a Hit And Run Accident Lawyer in Missouri
If you or someone you know is facing hit and run charges in Missouri, you may have options. Contact the criminal defense team and Kirsch & Kirsch today to discuss the details of your hit and run case. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and fighting for your freedom.