“Hit and run” or “stop and give aid” laws are meant for drivers involved in collision accidents. According to these laws, the driver is supposed to stop his or her vehicle, provide identification and assistance to the injured party. The laws are enacted to ensure collision victims receive medical attention and are able to receive fair compensation for their injuries and property damage.
When a Passenger Crosses the Line
Even if the driver is not at fault for the accident, these laws still apply, and failure to perform the required acts can lead to criminal prosecution. Sometimes in a collision, the other vehicle could be unoccupied or parked. In such a situation, the driver has to leave a note mentioning what happened, his contact information, and then contact the police.
Prosecution under the “hit and run” law is not limited to the driver, but can also extend to a passenger who encourages the driver to flee the accident scene. A passenger is also prosecuted if he or she gets into the driver’s seat after the accident and drives away.
Leaving the accident scene only admits guilt in most cases.
After the Accident
Even if the accident is reported by the driver after he has fled the scene, he would have still violated the “hit and run” laws. However, in certain states, if the driver reports the accident within 48 hours of the accident, the report cannot be used against the driver to prosecute him subsequently.
A driver has to be aware of the occurrence of the collision for the law to apply. However, even if the driver denies being aware as a defense, the prosecution can use circumstantial evidence to prove that the driver was indeed aware of the collision. For instance, if the driver slowed his vehicle after the accident, and then sped away, it is enough to support the fact that the driver was aware of the collision.