Hit and Run in North Carolina

Hit and run

In North Carolina, one of the most serious driving offenses is hit and run. If you are charged with a hit and run, you can face prison time and a possible one-year suspension of your driving privileges. If you are charged with one of these crimes, either the felony or the misdemeanor, its very important that you get a skilled and knowledgeable attorney, call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.

There are two types of Hit and Run in North Carolina. The first involves serious bodily injury to another person; while the second only involves property damage.


Hit and Run with Serious Bodily Injury can be broken down into two different levels; a felony and a misdemeanor. Both levels of hit and run with serious bodily injury require the following:

  1. The Driver is involved in an accident;
  2. That the accident resulted in a serious bodily injury or death to any person;
  3. That the Driver did not immediately stop there vehicle at the scene of the accident and remain at the scene until law enforcement investigate the accident and release the driver.

The main difference between the felony hit and run with serious injury and misdemeanor hit and run with serious injury is the level of knowledge that the Driver has about what has happened.

If the Driver knew or reasonably should have known that they were in an accident which caused serious bodily injury or death to a person and they did not stop or they left the scene and did not return, they are guilty of Felony Hit and Run. Felony hit and run is punishable as a Class F felony. This means that depending on your prior criminal record you can face up to 59 months in prison and a one-year suspension of your license.

If the Driver had no knowledge or could not have reasonably known that they were in an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury or death, then they can only be found guilty of the misdemeanor hit and run with serious injury. This is punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor, which can carry an sentence in prison of no more than 120 days, and still carries the one-year suspension of their driving privileges.

How can a judge or jury determine if you knew or should have known about the accident and whether or not it resulted in serious injury?

The court will look at several factors that may be evidence of whether you knew or reasonably should have known that the accident resulted in serious bodily injury or death. Some common factors are:

  1. The severity of the accident – typically shown by the amount of damage to either vehicle. If there is a lot of damage (for example air-bag deployment or the car being inoperable after the accident).
  2. The time of day and visibility conditions – If it is dark or visibility is limited it will be looked at differently than if it was sunny and clear outside.
  3. The speed at which the accident occurred – If the accident happened at high speeds it can be both a positive and negative this is very fact specific.
  4. The location of the accident – an accident on a rural road with little to no people around it will be different than if it happens in a populated area with a lot of traffic and foot traffic.

It is important to know that none of these factors are dispositive and each will likely be examined in your case. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have an experienced and skilled attorney on your team if you are charged with a hit and run.


Unlike the hit and run involving serious injury, accidents where there is a hit and run situation and there is only property damage are always misdemeanors. The elements that must be proven by the state are much the same with the only difference being that there is no serious injury, instead there is only property damage. Often these charges can be mitigated or dismissed by the state with the help of a skilled attorney. And while there is not the same impact on your driving privileges there is a substantial insurance and driving record hit that can accompany a conviction of this charge.

Hit and run cases are serious cases that can have long-standing and expensive repercussions. If you have one of these charges pending or you have questions about these charges, please contact the Criminal Defense team at Jetton and Meredith today.