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Q

I hit a car in a Walmart parking lot. I waited for the people to come out of the store but didn't. I didn't think to leave note until later. This is in the state of North Carolina. What are the consequences?


A

You could be guilty of a hit and run otherwise referred to as leaving the scene of an accident. If caught you could be charged under NCGS 20-166 c which is a class 1 misdemeanor and assessed 3 driver's license points.

Under this type of NC misdemeanor there is a possible jail term of 1 to 120 days. The amount of the fine is discretionary with the court. Sentencing by the court under this charge will depend upon your prior conviction level. It can range anywhere from a fine to community service to 120 day sentence. The more prior convictions, the stiffer the sentence a judge can impose. With five or more prior convictions, the statute allows for up to a 120 day active jail sentence.

North Carolina General Statute 20-166 C(1) states that...driver as set forth in subsection (c) shall give his or her name, address, driver's license number and the license plate number of his vehicle to the driver or occupants of any other vehicle involved in the crash or to any person whose property is damaged in the crash. If the damaged property is a parked and unattended vehicle and the name and location of the owner is not known to or readily ascertainable by the driver of the responsible vehicle, the driver shall furnish the information required by this subsection to the nearest available peace officer, or, in the alternative, and provided the driver thereafter within 48 hours fully complies with G.S. 20‑166.1(c), shall immediately place a paper‑writing containing the information in a conspicuous place upon or in the damaged vehicle. If the damaged property is a guardrail, utility pole, or other fixed object owned by the Department of Transportation, a public utility, or other public service corporation to which report cannot readily be made at the scene, it shall be sufficient if the responsible driver shall furnish the information required to the nearest peace officer or make written report thereof containing the information by U.S. certified mail, return receipt requested, to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles within five days following the collision. A violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

As you can see it states in the NC Statute that if you hit a car that is parked and unattended that you should contact the police to give your information or leave a note with your pertinent information on the damaged vehicle in a conspicuous place so that the owner can contact you about the damage and possibly made a claim with your insurance company.

North Carolina law requires that you stop after being involved in any accident. When you stop you are required to provide the other driver or pedestrian with "reasonable" assistance if they are injured and give information such as your name, phone number, and insurance company to any other driver of another car involved in the accident.

If you fail to fulfill your duty to stop, you may be charged with hit and run. The category of this offense and the potential sentence depend on the severity of the accident. If the accident only results in property damage and/or minimal injury, you are facing Class 1 misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanor hit and run for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage or minor injury carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail as well as fines.

If the accident results in death or a serious injury, Class H felony charges may be filed. Felony hit and run carries a potential sentence of up to 8 months for a first time offender. This means if you have no criminal history, 8 months is the most time you will be sentenced to. If, however, you have prior convictions on your record, this sentence can be increased substantially.


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