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What Are the Common Defenses for a Hit and Run Charge?

Posted by Brett Willis | Jul 10, 2024 | 0 Comments

A hit and run offense is taken seriously by law enforcement agencies and the judicial system, given its potential to cause harm and evade responsibility. Unlike most traffic violations, which are considered strict liability offenses—requiring no proof of intent—a hit and run charge in jurisdictions like Georgia necessitates that the prosecution demonstrate the defendant knowingly fled the scene. This requirement opens the door to several defense strategies that can be employed to challenge the allegations.

Understanding the Basis of a Hit and Run Charge

To effectively counter a hit and run charge, it is essential to comprehend what the prosecution must prove. The cornerstone of these cases is the requirement for the defendant to have knowingly failed to stop at the scene of an accident. This element distinguishes hit and run from other traffic offenses, where the focus is merely on the act itself, rather than the individual's awareness or intent.

Proving Knowledge and Intent

The crux of many defenses lies in challenging the prosecution's ability to prove that the defendant was aware of the accident and consciously chose to leave the scene. If it can be demonstrated that the defendant was unaware of the collision or believed no damage occurred, this can significantly undermine the prosecution's case.

Requirements Imposed by Law

In the aftermath of an accident, drivers are legally obligated to stop, especially when there is property damage, injury, or involvement of another vehicle. These laws aim to ensure accountability and facilitate the exchange of information crucial for insurance and legal processes. However, specific exceptions and nuances can serve as the basis for defenses against a hit and run accusation.

Defense Strategies

Several defense strategies can be employed based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Here are a few potential approaches:

  1. Traffic Impediment: In situations where stopping immediately could severely disrupt traffic flow and safety, defendants may argue that their decision to move from the scene was in compliance with the law's allowance for such scenarios. This defense is particularly relevant in accidents occurring on busy highways or in areas where stopping could endanger others.
  2. Lack of Knowledge: Arguing that the defendant was unaware of the accident or the resulting damage can be a powerful defense. This includes situations where the impact was minimal, and the driver genuinely did not realize a collision occurred.
  3. Absence of a Party to Inform: If the other involved party left the scene before the exchange of information could take place, or if there was no one at the scene to inform (e.g., hitting unattended property), this can serve as a defense. The defendant's inability to fulfill legal obligations due to the other party's actions or the situation can be argued.
  4. Impairment of Judgment: While not a defense in the strictest sense, mitigating circumstances that impaired the defendant's ability to comprehend the situation (without involving illegal activities like drunk driving) might be considered in reducing the charge or penalties. 


Navigating a hit and run charge requires a sophisticated understanding of legal strategies and a detailed exploration of the specific circumstances of each case. With the right approach and experienced legal representation, it is possible to mount a strong defense against these charges, potentially mitigating the consequences or even securing a dismissal. For those accused, it is crucial to act swiftly and seek guidance from legal experts who can navigate the complexities of traffic law and ensure the best possible outcome. Contact Brett Willis Law today to explore your defense options and take the first step towards protecting your rights and your future.

About the Author

Brett Willis

When the government has charged you with a crime, Brett Willis is the man to see. Brett has been winning the most difficult and serious cases since 2005.


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