North Dakota Hit and Run Laws: What happens if someone leaves the scene of an accident?
- North Dakota Hit and Run Laws: What happens if someone leaves the scene of an accident?
- North Dakota hit-and-run laws explained: what happens if you leave the scene of an accident?
- Is leaving the scene of an accident a misdemeanor in North Dakota?
- Is leaving the scene of an accident a felony in North Dakota?
- What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in North Dakota?
- What is the statute of limitations on accidents in North Dakota?
- North Dakota hit and run laws defenses
The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident involving injury in North Dakota is up to 360 days in jail plus a maximum fine of $3000. If anyone dies or suffers a serious injury, the charges may escalate into class C felony or class B felony charges if the accident resulted from negligence.
Quick take: Leaving the scene of an accident in North Dakota
- North Dakota is a no-fault state, meaning your insurer pays for certain expenses after an accident.
- You must report an accident if it results in death, injury, or property damage above $1000 within 24 hours.
- Failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury is a felony.
- Victims may take civil action. You have six years to file a personal injury claim.
- Never admit fault at the scene of an accident.
- Your insurer may deny you compensation if you do not report a reportable accident.
North Dakota hit-and-run laws explained: what happens if you leave the scene of an accident?
An accident is not a crime. You commit a crime if you fail to comply with the statutory requirements found in North Dakota’s hit-and-run laws. Under section 39-08-04, “accident involving death or personal injury” through to 39-08-05 “crashes involving damage to a vehicle,” what you must do immediately after an accident is:
Section 39-08-06: What to do after an accident in North Dakota
- You must stop your vehicle at the scene or very close to the scene without interfering with traffic more than is necessary.
- Give your name, address, and insurance information to the struck person, property owner, or occupant from the struck vehicle. You may also share said information with a peace officer if the victim is incapable of receiving it.
- Upon request, and if available, you must exhibit your drivers’ license to the struck person, an occupant in the vehicle, or the person attending the vehicle or property.
- Render reasonable assistance to anyone who may need it, including arranging transportation to a care facility.
What happens if you leave the scene of an accident without fulfilling the statutory obligations above?
You are guilty of a misdemeanor if the accident involves property damage and if anyone suffers death or serious injury. You may face felony charges.
Note: serious injury refers to any type of injury that puts the victim at significant risk of death, disfigurement, or paralysis. It includes organ damage, limb loss, facial disfigurement, and so on.
How to avoid hit and run charges in North Dakota
Remember, an accident becomes a crime when you leave the scene without rendering aid and without exchanging information with the other party. Because of that, what you must do after an accident in North Dakota is:
- Immediately stop the vehicle and assist anyone who needs it.
- Call the police and emergency services if necessary or if anyone suffers death or injury.
- Do not admit fault or comment about your health.
- Do not threaten, abuse, or harm the other party.
- Exchange information.
- Collect evidence, including dashcam footage.
- If capable, collect witness testimony.
- Call your insurer.
- If the property damage is significant, or if anyone dies or suffers a serious injury, call an attorney.
Is leaving the scene of an accident a misdemeanor in North Dakota?
Yes. Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage under section 39-08-05 is a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor in North Dakota is punishable by up to thirty days in jail and a maximum fine of $1500.
What to do if you hit an unattended vehicle in North Dakota
Section 39-08-07 says that you must make a reasonable effort to locate and notify the owner of the struck vehicle or property. If you locate the owner, you must give the individual your name, address, contact information, and insurance information. If you cannot locate the owner, you must leave the information mentioned above on a conspicuous section of the struck vehicle.
Failure to leave a note or find the property owner is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 360 days in jail and a $3000 fine.
What is a reportable accident in North Dakota?
Under state law, you must report any accident that results in property damage above $1000. You must also report any accident involving death or injury within 24 hours. On top of that, section 39-07-12 requires garage operators in the state to report any vehicle that shows evidence of having been involved in a Reportable Accident.
Note: you do not have to report if you strike an undomesticated animal.
Is leaving the scene of an accident a felony in North Dakota?
Yes. If you negligently fail to comply with the requirements above, and the accident results in death, you are guilty of a class C felony. If negligence was not the cause of the accident, then you are guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
If the victim dies and the accident resulted from negligence, you are guilty of a class B felony.
Felony DUI hit and run North Dakota
Under state law section 39-07-01, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Section 39-08-01.2. “Special punishment for causing injury or death while operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.” Reads in part, quote:
“An individual is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide if the individual commits an offense under section 39-08-01 or equivalent ordinance and as a result, the individual causes a death of another individual to occur, including the death of an unborn child, unless the individual who causes the death of the unborn child is the mother.”
Vehicular homicide is a class A felony in the state.
Additionally, section two of the statute reads in part, quote
“An individual is guilty of criminal vehicular injury if the individual violates section 39-08-01 or equivalent ordinance, and as a result. that individual causes substantial bodily or serious bodily injury to another individual.”
Vehicular injury is a class C felony. If you have prior convictions, the law requires the court to impose at least two years imprisonment. Note that the court cannot suspend the mandatory minimum sentence.
It is also worth noting that upon conviction, section 39-08-01 says that the state may seize, forfeit, and sell any motor vehicle involved in violation of all the crimes above.
What must prosecutors prove?
In North Dakota, after a hit and run, prosecutors must prove the following elements:
- The accused drove the vehicle.
- The vehicle was involved in a traffic collision.
- You left the scene without fulfilling statutory requirements.
- The collision was the cause of death, injury, or property damage.
What is the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in North Dakota?
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage: class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1500 fine.
- Failing to exchange contact information after striking an unattended vehicle: class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 130 days in jail and a maximum fine of $3000.
- Hit and run involving minor injury: class A misdemeanor.
- Negligent hit-and-run involving injury: class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10000 fine.
- DUI hit and run involving death: class A felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20000.
Note: if you have prior DUI convictions, the court may impose a mandatory minimum sentence of up to two years.
Administrative and civil penalties
Upon arrest for a hit and run, your insurance premiums will go up, and the victim may take civil action.
Under state law, all drivers must carry uninsured motorist coverage. Because of that, you may recover compensation from your insurer if the hit and run driver is never found. If police officers arrest the driver, you may file a civil action.
As the victim, this is what you must do after an accident:
- First, immediately call law enforcement if the driver flees or if the individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Collect evidence and write down everything you see, including the vehicle make, colour, driver description, resulting damage, and anything else that may aid the police.
- Do not comment about your health or accept responsibility for the accident.
- Do not threaten the other party because “fear for one’s safety” is an affirmative defense.
- Remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives.
- Do not file a false report -it may result in perjury charges.
- Seek medical assistance. You may need medical records to prove your claim.
- Contact an attorney.
- Report the accident to law enforcement or the state’s public safety. Your insurer may use failure to report a reportable accident to deny you compensation.
What is the statute of limitations on accidents in North Dakota?
The statute of limitations on personal injury in North Dakota is six years, starting from the date of the accident. If the victim dies, the family has two years to file a wrongful death claim. For property damage, you have six years to file a claim.
North Dakota hit and run laws defenses
Some possible defenses include:
- You feared for your safety/, and you felt that remaining at the scene would result in more harm or injury.
- Leaving the scene was the quickest means to get help for the victim.
- You were unaware of your involvement in an accident.
- No one suffered injury, death, or property damage.
Overall, your defense strategy depends on the facts. Therefore, we recommend consulting with an experienced attorney immediately. Also, while at the scene, do not say more than you need to, and if arrested, avoid sharing the details of the incidents with fellow inmates. In other words, let your lawyer speak for you.
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