Hit Skip Defense Attorney Columbus Ohio - The Maher Law Firm

A hit and run or hit skip in Ohio is also referred to as leaving the scene of an accident. If you are involved in an accident, you must stop and provide the other driver or a police officer on the scene with the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Name and address of the owner of the vehicle if not you
  • The registration number of the vehicle

While not specifically listed in the failure to stop after an accident section of the Ohio Revised Code, you should also provide your insurance information to the other driver. Even if the accident is not your fault, you still must stop to exchange information.

Hit and run is a serious offense. If you have been charged, it’s important to contact a hit and run defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio.

If the vehicle is unoccupied, you must leave the above listed information visibly attached to the vehicle.

If the other driver involved in the accident is unable to understand and record the information, you must notify police and remain on the scene until police arrive.

Under Ohio law, a person who does not stop after an accident can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a fine not more than $1,000. If the accident results in serious physical harm to a person, the offender can be charged with a felony of the fifth degree. A felony conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from six months to one year and/or fines up to $2,500.

A hit and run is not easy to prove. In order to sustain a conviction of a violation of the hit and run statute, there must be some evidence to connect the defendant with the crime. There are many different defenses that a Columbus, Ohio hit and run defense attorney can employ. Below are just a few of the possible defenses in a hit and run case.



Leaving the scene of the accident can have a lasting negative impact on every aspect of your life, from large fines to jail time. Consequences differ according to the severity of the accident and whether human life or property is involved. 

Having an accident, even if no one is injured, is a frightening event. You might be tempted to leave the scene, but do not do that! Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are extremely stiff. Additionally, leaving the scene makes you appear to be guilty, regardless of whether or not you’re at fault. In this day and age with cell phone cameras everywhere, the accident would probably already recorded and you leaving would be too.

What to do if you’ve fled the scene of an accident:

If you’re in this situation in Columbus, Ohio, there is a good chance that authorities are looking for you and it is just a matter of time before they identify and arrest you.  You need the counsel of a hit and run defense lawyer now.

Below are few of the possible defenses in a hit and run case

Inadmissible Evidence

Where forensic evidence is used to identify a hit-and-run vehicle or driver, an attorney can challenge the admissibility of the evidence or the qualifications of the witness presenting it. The admissibility of opinion evidence regarding any matter of science, such as the reconstruction of an accident, the identification of substances by analyses, or the cause and time of a person’s death may well be affected by the rule of Daubert v. Merrel Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Daubert sets forth the requirements of expert testimony.

Medical testimony may also be objectionable, if the witness strays from his or her field of expertise. A physician may be qualified to testify as to the cause of death, although she has not been specially trained in forensics, if the matter is within her area of practice. However, a mere title will not qualify one to render an expert opinion. For instance, a coroner need not be a physician or have any special training, and thus may not be qualified to render an opinion. Further, a physician eminently qualified to render a medical opinion may not be well qualified to discuss such matters as whether a person’s injuries are consistent with being hit by a particular car under particular circumstances.

Search and Seizure

If the police searched a defendant’s vehicle or person to obtain evidence there may be a probable cause issue. The police must have probable cause to perform a search.

Exculpatory Evidence

There may be exculpatory evidence that proves the defendant did not or could not commit the crime. This may include testimony that the defendant was not in the vicinity during the time of the accident.

Inadequate Mental State

In order to sustain a conviction for hit and run, the prosecutor must establish that the driver had knowledge of the collision. The fact that the driver is unaware that he or she was in a collision may be a sufficient excuse for a failure to stop.

The Other Vehicle Failed to Stop

The fact that an accident victim immediately leaves the scene of the accident constitutes a defense to a prosecution for leaving the scene of an accident without furnishing information or rendering assistance

Plea Bargain

A Columbus, Ohio hit and run defense attorney can always attempt to negotiate a plea. A plea may include a defendant pleading to a lesser offense.

Hire an experienced Ohio hit and run defense attorney at Maher Law. Attorney Colin Maher has extensive knowledge and experience dealing with all types of criminal traffic violations. He knows exactly what the prosecution has to prove in order to get a hit and run conviction, and how to provide adequate defenses. For your free and confidential consultation, contact an experienced Traffic Violation Attorney at The Maher Law Firm.

Penalties for Failure to Stop After an Accident in Ohio

Leaving the scene of an accident is generally a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $1000 fine, court costs, probation, community service, restitution, 6 points on your license, and a class 5 license suspension for up to 3 years. If anyone involved in the accident was seriously injured, leaving the scene is a felony of the fifth degree increasing the possible jail time to 12 months. If the accident causes the death of another, failure to stop is a felony of the third degree increasing the possible jail time to 3 years.

Penalties for Hit and Run in Ohio


Damage Only

With Injury

With Death


First-degree misdemeanor

Fifth-degree felony

Third-degree felony

Max. jail or prison sentence

180 days

12 months

36-60 months

Max. fine




License suspension

At least 6 months and up to 3 years

At least 6 months and up to 3 years

At least 6 months and up to 3 years





Any driver’s license suspension issued by an Ohio court applies to every driving certification a person holds. This means a hit-skip conviction will cost a person his or her personal license and commercial driver’s license.

Uninsured Drivers May Need to Pay Restitution

A defendant in a hit and run trial must show the judge proof of insurance. If no auto insurance policy exists, or if it was inactive at the time of the crash, the judge can impose restitution as part of the sentence. A court-ordered payment for leaving the scene of an accident cannot exceed $5,000, but that expense will be on top of any criminal fine or civil court award for property damage, personal injuries, or wrongful death.

Failure to stop after an accident is a serious matter. Even bumping into a car in the parking lot could result in up to 6 months in jail. If you have been charged with a hit skip, contact an experienced Columbus hit and run defense attorney from The Maher Law Firm at (614) 205-2208 to discuss your case.


Do not hesitate to contact a Columbus, Ohio, criminal defense attorney if police accuse you of leaving the scene of an accident. Penalties for hit and run, which state statutes refer to as “fleeing the scene of an accident,” can be harsh, rising to as much as three years in jail when the crash resulted in another person’s death. Even a hit-and-run collision that only inflicts vehicle damage can lead to a 180-day jail term, a lengthy driver’s license suspension, and large fines.

Note that the cause of the crash does not matter specifically in a hit-and-run case, as the controlling statute specifies that all people involved in an accident must stop and remain on the scene. Both the at-fault driver and any other person involved in the crash have duties to exchanges names, contact information, and insurance details. Police who respond to an accident will also ask for that information. Individuals who strike unoccupied vehicles are required by law to leave a note with the same details.  Those who cause property damage to something other than a vehicle are also required to make reasonable efforts to contact the property owner or report the accident to police if the property owner cannot be contacted.  For instance, if you hit a mailbox, you must speak to the owner, leave your information so the owner can contact you, or report the accident by calling the police.

Defending yourself against a hit-and-run charge requires reviewing and challenging all of the eyewitness and physical evidence that investigators and prosecutors claim shows you were the person who fled. Hiring a skilled and dedicated traffic offense lawyer will make doing that possible.

Facts that will have to be proved in court to secure a conviction for hit and run include

  • You were the driver at the time of the collision
  • You fled the scene knowing you hit something

If you need a hit-and-run defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio, call The Maher Law Firm.

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