Auto accidents can be confusing at the best of times. They happen quickly, there are usually loud noises and often physical trauma. It is easy to become disoriented. But confusion is not an excuse for leaving the scene of an accident. In Kentucky, if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, a human or even a fixed object, it is considered a hit and run, and you can be prosecuted.
Contact Kentucky Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you’ve been accused of a hit and run accident in Kentucky, you need legal representation as soon as possible. Kentucky Criminal Defense Attorneys (KYCDA) can help. KYCDA is a firm of criminal defense attorneys located across the state, and our attorneys are licensed to practice law in all courts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KYCDA has taken criminal defense cases of all types, and we have the resources and experience to help. Contact us online or call 859-685-1055 if you have questions or to set up a consultation.
How does Kentucky Law Define Hit and Run?
According to NOLO, a legal publishing website, hit and run is defined by failure to stop at the scene of an accident in which you were involved to avoid the consequences of the accident, no matter whose fault the accident was. Leaving to get assistance and returning is not considered a hit and run. In a majority of states, causing an injury in a hit and run accident is an automatic felony.
Kentucky Hit and Run Statistics
According to the Traffic Collision Report by the Kentucky Department of Transportation, hit and run accidents are a fairly common occurrence in Kentucky, often with tragic consequences. The report states that in 2015 there were a total of 12,830 hit and run accidents in Kentucky. There were 24 fatal collisions, with 24 fatalities, and 1,014 injury collisions with 1,390 total injuries. There were a total of 11,792 collisions that resulted in property damages. Most of the accidents, 4,977, occurred on city streets, and among the injured were 156 pedestrians and 31 pedal cyclists.
Charges for hit and run accidents in Kentucky can include both criminal and civil penalties. Criminal penalties are violations of local, state or federal laws, and are prosecuted by the government. Civil actions are brought by individuals in order to receive compensation for perceived damages. The full statutes are available here.
- Criminal charges: Depending on the amount of damages, a hit and run in Kentucky may be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. Bumping into a fender in a parking lot will be treated much less severely than slamming into the side of a vehicle at 35 mph in an intersection and fleeing the scene. However, if a person is killed or seriously injured in the accident and an individual leaves the scene, the charge will be a felony.
- Civil action: Aside from the criminal charges, an individual who was at fault for the accident and fled the scene may be sued in civil court for damages, including medical expenses and property damages.
Hit and Run Defenses in Kentucky
Despite the seriousness of hit and run charges in Kentucky, there are defenses available for offenders. Legal Match lists several potential defenses commonly used in hit and run cases. They include:
- Ongoing emergency or “Choice of Evils”: For example, if a woman is pregnant and her husband is rushing her to the hospital and is involved in a non-injury accident, the circumstances may dictate a more lenient charge. However, even an emergency is no guarantee of lessened charges.
- Involuntary intoxication: Involuntary intoxication occurs in situations when medicines interact in an unexpected manner or similar circumstances occur that cloud an individual’s judgment. This is not to be confused with voluntary intoxication, in which charges will be compounded.
- Lack of knowledge: Accidents may be confusing. It’s possible in some accidents, especially in minor ones, that an accident may occur without the driver’s knowledge. An example is backing into another car while attempting to pull out of a tight parking space.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Kentucky, Dan Carman and Attorneys, PLLC, can help. We have represented countless clients to ensure that they are treated fairly, providing an aggressive defense to achieve the best possible result. With attorneys across the state, we have the ability and the knowledge to give you the best defense possible, no matter where you live. If you have questions or seek a consultation, contact us online or at 859-685-1055 as soon as possible.