Washington State statutes, collectively named The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) impose obligations on those who choose to operate a motor vehicle on public roads. These obligations include having a valid license and valid insurance (or insurance alternatives), among others. RCW 46.52.010 and RCW 46.52.020 impose affirmative obligations of those driving a vehicle that is involved in an accident, whether the object struck by the vehicle.
Hit and Run Unattended
RCW 46.52.010 governs situations where a driver strikes an unattended vehicle or property where no person was hurt. A violation of this statute is usually called a "Hit and Run Unattended" crime. The first section of the statute requires that the operator of a vehicle that hits another, unattended vehicle must 1) immediately stop, and 2) either a) provide the other vehicle owner with the driver's name and address, or b) place a note containing that information in a conspicuous place on the vehicle (like a note on the windshield).
The second section of RCW 46.52.010 covers the scenario where a driver strikes property (other than a vehicle) and no one is hurt. The driver must then take reasonable steps to notify the owner (or person in charge) of the damaged property of the driver's name and address, or the driver must leave that information in a written note on a conspicuous (easy to see) place on the damaged property.
Failing to comply with the requirements of RCW 46.52.010 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
Hit and Run Attended
The penalties for violating RCW 46.52.020 (Hit and Run Attended) are more severe than RCW 46.52.010. The maximum penalty for violating this statute is 365 days in jail and a $5000 fine - a gross misdemeanor. In addition, a person convicted of Hit and Run Attended will have his license revoked for at least a year. If a person in the accident has died, violation of this statute is a felony.
RCW 46.52.020 requires a driver that knows he or she has been involved in an accident with a vehicle that is occupied (thus, attended), to provide his or her name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, and vehicle license number (and display his or her drivers' license) to the other driver. The driver must also provide reasonable assistance for the injured person, which may include transport to a hospital.
If no injury is caused (only vehicles are damaged), the drivers are required to move the damaged vehicle to a suitable location (usually off the road) as soon as possible. Moving the vehicle will not affect fault for the accident.
Hit and Run Unattended (misdemeanor) and Hit and Run Attended (gross misdemeanor or felony) are serious crimes, with significant repercussions, including jail, fines, probation, a revoked license, and increased insurance rates. A good, knowledgeable lawyer can help you navigate your way through such a charge.
If you, or someone you care about, has been charged with Hit and Run Unattended or Hit and Run Attended, call Ashbach Law Offices, LLC at (360) 659-4950 today for a free consultation.
RCW 46.52.010 Duty on striking unattended car or other property - Penalty.
(1) The operator of any vehicle which collided with any other vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice, giving the name and address of the operator and of the owner of the vehicle striking such other vehicle.
(2) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property fixed or placed upon or adjacent to any public highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of the name and address of the operator and owner of the vehicle striking such property, or shall leave in a conspicuous place upon the property struck a written notice, giving the name and address of the operator and of the owner of the vehicle so striking the property, and such person shall further make report of such accident as in the case of other accidents upon the public highways of this state.
(3) Any person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.