Hit and Run Defense Attorney in West Haven, Connecticut

In 2017, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration estimated that hit and runs occur about once every 43 seconds in the U.S. Most often, these accidents involve two cars and result in property damage, but they can also involve serious injuries to drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, or anyone else who was hurt at the scene of the accident. In either case, committing a hit and run (or “evading responsibility”) is a serious crime that calls for an experienced criminal defense attorney.

“Hit and Run” vs. “Evading Responsibility”

Connecticut uses the term “evading responsibility” where most states use “hit and run.” Really, the two charges are one and the same. In Connecticut, you can be charged with this crime if you cause a car wreck and then A) leave the scene before properly identifying yourself or B) fail to report the accident.

People throughout Connecticut get charged with evading responsibility for a number of reasons. Sometimes, they hit another car, panic, and drive off before thinking through the consequences. On other occasions, they might think they’ve taken care of all the necessary post-accident paperwork only to later find out they missed a step. Regardless of what you allegedly did to be accused of evading responsibility, what matters now is how you handle your case from here on out.

Do You Need a Lawyer for an Evading Responsibility Charge?

Unlike your run-of-the-mill traffic ticket, evading responsibility charges typically involve insurance claims, property damage, injuries, or even death. Connecticut law may not require you to have an attorney, but for your own sake, you want someone on your side who can handle the intricacies of these charges.

When it comes to hit and runs, even a fender bender that resulted in minimal damage can leave you facing steep legal penalties, such as license suspension, fines, or even jail time. If someone else from the accident was seriously injured or killed, those penalties only get steeper. For all these reasons, we strongly encourage you to at least review your case with a local criminal defense law firm. If you were charged in or near West Haven, Connecticut, take advantage of a free consultation with DeMatteo Legal Solutions.

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Penalties for Evading Responsibility

Every evading responsibility case is unique because no two car accidents are exactly the same. Connecticut courts consider a wide range of factors in order to determine a fitting resolution for each case. For instance, these are just a few of the factors that could come into play as your case unfolds:

  • The extent of property damage done to the other party’s car (or other property)
  • The severity of the other party’s injuries
  • Whether the accident resulted in death
  • Any previous evading responsibility charges on your criminal record
  • How recklessly you were perceived to be driving
  • Whether street racing was involved
  • Whether alcohol or drugs were involved

Depending on how the prosecution presents these and other factors relevant to your case, you could be charged at either the misdemeanor or felony level.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Evading Responsibility Penalties

Misdemeanor evading responsibility is the more common charge since most hit and run accidents stop at property damage and/or minor injuries. As a first offense, this charge is punishable by a 90-day driver's license suspension, up to $600 in fines, and/or up to 1 year in jail.

Felony evading responsibility is typically only charged when serious injuries or death have occurred. It can be penalized by a 1-year driver's license suspension, up to $20,000 in fines, and/or 20 years in prison.

As you can see, both the state of Connecticut and the federal government take hit and runs very seriously. The best way to fight these charges is to enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer who is just as serious about protecting your rights and defending your freedom. At DeMatteo Legal Solutions, that’s exactly what you’ll find.

Evading Responsibility Attorney in West Haven, Connecticut

Throughout our careers as criminal defense attorneys, we have successfully defended clients accused of evading responsibility, as well as those charged at both the misdemeanor and felony levels. If you’re facing a hit and run charge in the West Haven area, DeMatteo Legal Solutions is here to help. Call today to schedule a one-on-one consultation.