Hit-and-run accidents can be traumatic and life-changing experiences for both the victims and the drivers involved. When fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run in South Carolina, it is important to know that you can face severe consequences — both legally and financially.
South Carolina Hit-and-Run Laws
Under South Carolina law, drivers must stop immediately at the scene of an accident that has caused injury, death, or property damage. Drivers must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number and show their driver’s license if requested.
If a driver fails to stop and comply with these requirements, they can be charged with a hit-and-run offense. The penalties for a hit-and-run vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. For example, there may be added consequences if a DUI is involved or when passengers are injured.
Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of a Hit-and-Run
The penalties for fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run in South Carolina vary. Certain elements of each case can aggravate or mitigate the circumstances, leading to milder or more severe legal consequences.
If hit-and-run results in property damage, the offender may be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. Penalties for a misdemeanor include up to 30 days in jail and hefty court fines.
If a hit-and-run injures another person, the offender can be charged with a felony.
Felony hit-and-run penalties include imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $5,000, and other consequences like a suspended license and probation.
Great Bodily Injury
If the hit-and-run resulted in great bodily injury to another person, the offender could face imprisonment for up to 10 years, fines of up to $10,000, and administrative penalties.
Whenever a hit-and-run results in the death of another person, the driver at fault faces felony charges such as vehicular homicide or manslaughter. Depending on the circumstances, penalties include imprisonment for up to 25 years and fines of up to $25,000.
Legal and Financial Consequences
Apart from severe criminal penalties, fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run in South Carolina can have other legal and financial implications that affect individuals for many years.
Drivers who flee a crash scene can be held liable for damages resulting from the accident. These can include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If you’re found liable for a hit-and-run, you may be paying out damages for years to come.
Higher Insurance Premiums
Insurance premiums are likely to increase significantly when a driver is found guilty of a hit-and-run in South Carolina. This can lead to long-term financial repercussions.
License Suspension or Revocation
The South Carolina DMV may suspend or revoke the driver’s license of an individual convicted of a hit-and-run offense. The duration of the suspension depends on the severity of the crime and any prior convictions and traffic violations.
A hit-and-run conviction will result in a criminal record, negatively impacting future employment opportunities, housing, and other aspects of the individual’s life.
In many cases, those convicted of a hit-and-run also face years of probation, driver education classes, and restitution fees for victims.
Seeking Legal Counsel in South Carolina
If you are facing charges for fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run in South Carolina, it is imperative that you seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
A hit-and-run lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process, protect your rights, and fight for the best possible outcome. Without a competent lawyer on your side, it is far more difficult to achieve a favorable result. The Law Office of Mo Abusaft specializes in defending criminal charges in Spartanburg and across South Carolina. Get in touch with us today to connect with our team.