434 Fayetteville St #2030
Raleigh, NC 27601

Hit-and-Run

State law requires drivers in North Carolina to take certain actions immediately following any motor vehicle accident. Under North Carolina General Statute § 20-166, any driver who is involved in a reportable crash should remain with the vehicle at the scene of the crash until a law enforcement officer completes an investigation or authorizes the motorist to leave and the vehicle to be removed.

Exceptions are made for drivers who may be at significant risk of injury by remaining at the scene or who fear bodily harm from the other driver, but what happens when a motorist is unaware that an accident resulted in injury or property damage? Even under these circumstances you may be charged with unknowingly breaking the state’s duty to stop law and face severe consequences that include possible imprisonment.

Raleigh Lawyer for Hit-and-Run Defense

If you were recently arrested for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident in North Carolina, you will want to immediately seek legal counsel. Coolidge Law Firm can conduct a thorough investigation of your case and fight to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Our experienced Wake County hit-and-run attorneys provide aggressive legal defense for clients throughout the Raleigh area, including students at many local schools such as William Peace University, North Carolina State University, Shaw University, Duke University, Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Meredith College. Call (919) 239-8448 right now to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will allow our firm to evaluate your case.


Wake County Hit-and-Run Information Center


Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run Charges in North Carolina

There are multiple scenarios under North Carolina General Statute § 20-166 in which an alleged offender can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person violates this statute by failing to do either of the following after any crash:

If the damaged property is an unattended vehicle, a driver can also be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for failing to furnish the information listed above to the nearest available peace officer or placing some kind of note containing the information in a conspicuous place upon or in the damaged vehicle. Other kinds of damaged property should be reported to the nearest peace officer or to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

A driver can also be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for failing to stop his vehicle at the scene of a crash that results:

Under North Carolina’s structured sentencing system, a person who is convicted of a hit-and-run may receive one of three types of punishment. The form and duration of punishment depends on the alleged offender’s prior criminal record.

A community punishment is a supervised or unsupervised term of probation with no special conditions, an intermediate punishment is a term of supervised probation with a specific condition such as a split sentence, and an active punishment involves a term of incarceration in the state prison system. For a Class 1 misdemeanor, the sentencing ranges are as follows:


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Felony Hit-and-Run Charges in Raleigh

Under North Carolina General Statute § 20-166(a1), it is a Class H felony if an alleged offender fails to stop his vehicle at the scene of a crash when he knows or reasonably should know:

When a person is charged with a felony, structured sentencing is more complex because there are six Prior Record Levels based upon scores calculated by prosecutors instead of three levels representing prior convictions. Prior felony convictions carry more points than prior misdemeanor convictions, and other factors such as an offense being committed while an alleged offender was on supervised or unsupervised probation, parole, or post‑release supervision can also lead to additional points.

Additionally, judges also consider aggravating and mitigating factors, as the table for every felony offense includes an aggravated range, a mitigated range, and a presumptive range for cases with an equal amount of or no such factors. In Class H felony cases, a person could receive any of the following sentences, depending on his Prior Conviction Level score:

 

Prior Record Level I
(0-1 point)

Prior Record Level II
(2-5 points)

Prior Record Level III
(6-9 points)

Prior Record Level IV
(10-13 points)

Prior Record Level V
(14-17 points)

Prior Record Level VI
(18 or more points)

 

Community, Intermediate, or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Active

Aggravated Range

6-8 months

8-10 months

10-12 months

11-14 months

15-19 months

20-25 months

Presumptive Range

5-6 months

6-8 months

8-10 months

9-11 months

12-15 months

16-20 months

Mitigated Range

4-5 months

4-6 months

6-8 months

7-9 months

9-12 months

12-16 months


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Felony Hit-and-Run Resulting in Death or Serious Bodily Injury in Wake County

North Carolina General Statute § 20-166(a) makes it a Class F felony for an alleged offender to leave the scene of any crash that he knows or reasonably should know has resulted in serious bodily injury or death to any person. Serious bodily injury is defined under North Carolina General Statute § 14-32.4 as being bodily injury that either:

In a Class F felony case, the possible sentencing ranges become much more serious:

 

Prior Record Level I
(0-1 point)

Prior Record Level II
(2-5 points)

Prior Record Level III
(6-9 points)

Prior Record Level IV
(10-13 points)

Prior Record Level V
(14-17 points)

Prior Record Level VI
(18 or more points)

 

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Intermediate or Active

Active

Active

Active

Aggravated Range

16-20 months

19-23 months

21-27 months

25-31 months

28-36 months

33-41 months

Presumptive Range

13-16 months

15-19 months

17-21 months

20-25 months

23-28 months

26-33 months

Mitigated Range

10-13 months

11-15 months

13-17 months

15-20 months

17-23 months

20-26 months


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North Carolina Resources for Hit-and-Run

General Assembly of North Carolina Session Law 2005-460 | House Bill 217 — Otherwise entitled “An Act to Make It Unlawful to Drive Away From or Otherwise Leave the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident in Certain Circumstances,” this bill amended North Carolina General Statute § 20-166 and created North Carolina General Statute § 20-166.2 in response to an October 4, 2003 hit-and-run accident in which a 27-year-old reported was killed while changing his tire in Hillsborough. In that case, a passenger who had been asleep in the sport utility vehicle that struck the alleged victim got into the driver’s seat after the crash and drove the vehicle to Raleigh. While the original driver entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of not reporting the accident, the passenger was later acquitted of felony hit-and-run charges since he was not driving at the time of the crash.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety | Crime Victims Compensation — The state can be a payer of last resort for financial losses not covered by sources such as health insurance, Medicaid, or restitution paid by the alleged offender. Victims Compensation Services reimburses citizens who suffer monetary harm as a result of being an innocent victim of crimes such as hit-and-run accidents committed in North Carolina. The program pays a maximum of $30,000 for medical expenses related to treatment of injuries and a maximum of $5,000 for funeral expenses when a victim dies as a result of a crime.

4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
(919) 733-7974


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Find a Lawyer for Hit-and-Run Issues in Raleigh

Have you been charged with leaving the scene of a crash in North Carolina? Prosecutors take these types of crimes very seriously, and judges impose harsh punishments on offenders who are convicted of traffic offenses that make the jobs of police officers more difficult and result in injuries to innocent people.

Coolidge Law Firm understands the best ways to defend these types of cases, and our firm represents people facing these types of accusations in such communities as Garner, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, Wendell, Zebulon, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, and Rolesville. Our Wake County criminal defense attorneys can provide an honest and thorough review of your case and answer all of your questions as soon as you call (919) 239-8448 to set up a completely free initial consultation.


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David Coolidge
David A. Coolidge
is heading up our team as criminal defense attorney and graduate at the top of his class from Duke University School of Law ...
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Steven MacGilvray
Steven P. MacGilvray
Steven P. MacGilvray is an Associate Attorney at Coolidge Law Firm, focusing primarily on Criminal Defense. Mr. MacGilvray graduated from Regent University School of Law ...
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Brent Blakesley
Brent Blakesley
manages the daily operations at Coolidge Law Firm. Brent graduated from Duke University in 2008 with a BA in Computer Science, BA in Linguistics ...
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