Regardless of whether you are at fault for a crash, leaving the scene of an accident Colorado can be an extremely serious offense under Colorado law (C.R.S. §§ 42-4-1601 and 42-4-1602).

Whether you were involved in a hit and run involving bodily injury, or have been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident Colorado following significant property damage, you will need to have an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney on your side to help you beat these charges.

When you are involved in an accident, Colorado law requires you to remain at the scene. We will provide you with more information about the serious offense of leaving the scene of an accident, and how a Colorado criminal defense lawyer can assist you.

Hit-and-Run is a Felony Offense in Colorado

It is unlawful in Colorado to leave the scene of an accident even if the vehicles involved sustain only property damage. The crime becomes much more serious if you leave the scene of an accident in which someone gets hurt. If you are involved in a crash in which anyone is seriously injured or killed, leaving the scene of the accident—also known as a hit-and-run—is a felony offense.

What are you required to do if you are involved in an accident in order to avoid a misdemeanor or felony charge? The following are your obligations under Colorado law:

  • Crash with an occupied vehicle: if you are involved in a crash with another vehicle that is occupied, you are only permitted to leave the scene of the accident if you are doing so to report it to law enforcement or to seek medical attention for yourself. If you are involved in a collision with an occupied vehicle in a busy area, you areallowed to move your vehicle a short distance to a safer area outside the heavily trafficked area in order to avoid a secondary accident and additional injuries.
  • Collision with an unattended vehicle or other property: if you crash into an unattended vehicle or other property, you are still required to stop. You must either find and inform the owner of the vehicle or other property about the damage, or attach a clear notice to the vehicle with your name, address, vehicle registration number, and information for the owner to contact you. In addition, you must report the accident to law enforcement and, if you are required to do so by the police, return to the scene where the crash occurred.
  • Accident in which another person is injured: if you are involved in a collision where another person gets hurt, Colorado law requires you, in situations where it is practical to do so, to offer reasonable assistance to the injury victim. This could mean calling first responders to provide treatment and transfer to an emergency department, or transporting the injured person to a nearby hospital or medical center.

Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in a Colorado Hit-and-Run

The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident vary depending upon whether you were involved in a collision with another occupied vehicle, and whether anyone got hurt in the crash. In general, the following are possible penalties for leaving the scene of different types of collisions in Colorado:

  • Leaving the scene after an accident involving an unoccupied vehicle: this is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, and it can result in jail time of anywhere from 10-90 days, as well as a fine of anywhere from $150 to $300;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage: this is also a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, and it can result in jail time of anywhere from 10-90 days, as well as a fine of anywhere from $150 to $300;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which another person suffers non-serious injuries: this is a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense, and it can result in anywhere from 10 days to 1 year in jail, as well as a fine of anywhere from $300 to $1,000;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which another person suffers serious bodily injuries: this is a class 4 felony offense in Colorado, and penalties may include a prison sentence of 2-6 years, as well as a monetary fine of $2,000 to $500,000; and
  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which another person is killed: this is the most serious charge involving leaving the scene of an accident or a hit-and-run, and it is a class 3 felony offense. If you leave the scene of an accident in which another person sustains fatal injuries, you can face penalties including 4-12 years of imprisonment, along with a monetary fine of $3,000 to $750,000.

Contact a Colorado Hit-and-Run Defense Lawyer

If you are facing charges for leaving the scene of an accident Colorado, a Colorado criminal defense attorney can help. Contact Miller Leonard, PC today.

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