In North Carolina, the Hit and Run statute, G.S. 20-166, is very broad and covers numerous scenarios ranging from leaving the scene of an accident where someone was killed to simply failing to notify authorities that you were involved in a fender bender. The Hit and Run violations proscribed in North Carolina G.S. 20-166 range from a Class F Felony to a Class 2 Misdemeanor and each carry with them unique penalties such as the revocation of your driver’s license. Before we get into the details there are several interesting points that deserve mention. First, a crash is defined pursuant to North Carolina G.S. 20-4.01(4b) as any event that results in injury or property damage attributable directly to the motion of a motor vehicle or its load. Additionally, the terms collision, accident, and crash, and their cognates, are synonymous. Second, in North Carolina fault does not matter. It does not matter who hit who – everyone must stop. Third, there is no “public street or highway” requirement, and accordingly, all the duties imposed under 20-166 even exist on private roads and property. Fourth, any property qualifies: vehicle, tree, fire hydrant, guardrail and even animals. Lastly, where the statue obligates aid or assistance, pursuant to case law, a person must personally render assistance and/or medical aid and not just merely call or send someone else to assist.
There are six types of Hit and Run violations in North Carolina and because each charge covers different scenarios and carries different punishments it is very important to know what specific Hit and Run you are charged with. The chart below list the different hit and run violations in North Carolina and the accompanying punishments.
N.C.G.S. § 20-166(a)
Failure to stop or remain at the scene when serious bodily injury or death occurs
Class F Felony. Revocation of Driver’s License for at least one year, potentially 2 years. Limited Driving Privilege not available.
N.C.G.S. § 20-166(a1)
Failure to stop or remain at the scene when personal injury occurs
Class H Felony. Revocation of Driver’s License for at least one year, potentially 2 years. Limited Driving Privilege is available.
N.C.G.S. § 20-166(b)
Failure to give information or assistance when personal injury or death occurs
Class 1 Misdemeanor. Revocation of Driver’s License. Limited Driving Privilege not available.
N.C.G.S. § 20-166(c)
Failure to stop when injury or death not apparent or only property damage occurs
Class 1 Misdemeanor
N.C.G.S. § 20-166(c1)
Failure to give information when injury or death not apparent or only property damage occurs
Class 1 Misdemeanor
N.C.G.S. § 20-166.1
Failure to notify the authorities
Class 2 Misdemeanor
After reading the above chart you are probably asking what specially is the failure to stop or remain at the scene, failure to give information, failure to provide assistance and failure to notify authorities. Below we answer those questions.
FAILURE TO STOP OR REMAIN AT THE SCENE PURSUANT TO NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL STATUTES 20-166(A), 20-166(A1) AND 20-166(C)
The operator of a vehicle who knows or reasonably should know that his or her vehicle is involved in a crash or accident must do the following:
- Immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash
- Personally remain at the scene of the crash, and
- Must not allow, facilitate or agree to the removal of the vehicle from the scene of the crash.
You are only allowed to leave the scene once law enforcement completes the investigation and authorizes you to leave. There are, however, a few exceptions to the requirement that one remains at the scene of the accident. The exceptions are as follows:
- Remaining at scene possess a significant risk of injury
- You must leave the scene to call a law enforcement officer
- You must leave the scene to call for medical assistance or to seek medical treatment
If you must leave the scene to escape potential injury or to call the police or medical personnel, you must return with the vehicle involved in the accident within a reasonable time, unless otherwise instructed by a law enforcement officer.
FAILURE TO GIVE INFORMATION PURSUANT TO NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL STATUTES 20-166(B) AND 20-166(C1)
Each person involved in the accident is required to give certain information to the other person involved in the accident. Specifically, each person must provide the following information:
- Driver’s License Number
- License Plate Number
If the accident involves a parked or unattended car, one must provide the above information in one of the following ways:
- To a Law enforcement officer
- To the owner, if known, of the vehicle hit within 48 hours of the accident, or
- If the owner is unknown, by placing a piece of paper with the above information on it in a visible place on the damaged vehicle.
If the accident involves a hitting something other than a vehicle such as a telephone pole or guardrail, you must notify the local law enforcement agency or the North Carolina department of transportation.
FAILURE TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE PURSUANT TO NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL STATUTES 20-166(B)
A driver involved in a crash must render reasonable aid to a person injured in such crash including calling for medical assistance if apparent that such assistance is necessary or is requested by the injured person. Such aid or assistance must be provided personally. You cannot simply call for aid, you must personally render aid or medical attention when required.
FAILURE TO NOTIFY THE AUTHORITIES PURSUANT TO NORTH CAROLINE GENERAL STATUTE 20-166.1
The driver of a vehicle involved in a reportable accident must immediately, by the quickest means of communication, notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the accident. If the accident occurred in a city or town, the appropriate agency is the police department of the city or town. If the accident occurred outside a city or town, the appropriate agency is the State Highway Patrol or the sheriff's office or other qualified rural police of the county where the accident occurred.
A reportable accident is defined under North Carolina General Statue 20-4.01(33b) and is a crash that results in (1) a person’s injury or death, (2) property damage of at least $1,000, or (3) property damage to a vehicle seized pursuant to G.S. 20-28.3 for forfeiture in an impaired driving case.
CALL THE FORMER PROSECUTORS AT BROWNING & LONG, PLLC FOR A THOROUGH REVIEW OF YOUR NORTH CAROLINA HIT AND RUN CHARGE
As you can see Hit and Run law is complex and covers numerous situations. The attorneys at Browning & Long, PLLC have represented many folks charged with all types of Hit and Runs and know the unique intricacies and defenses of each specific Hit and Run charge. If you or a family member or friend have been charged with a Hit and Run violation in North Carolina, please give us a call so we can methodically review your case and help you avoid the potential consequences of a Hit and Run conviction.
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