Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

This year alone, there have been more than 3945 hit-and-run incidences in Denver. In some instances, the driver could be unaware that they hit someone or something or confused about what to do in that situation.

Whatever the reasoning that informed the decision to leave the scene, one can be charged and penalized for the offense. Accused persons can ask a Denver criminal defense attorney to defend them and protect them from the consequences of a “guilty” verdict.

How Serious is a Hit & Run Charge in Denver?

Hit & run is among the many serious crimes in Colorado, and if you are charged and convicted, your life can be impacted significantly. The magnitude of the penalty is dependent on whether:

  • The other vehicle or property was occupied or not
  • The other vehicle was damaged or not
  • A person was killed, seriously injured, or injured in the incident

Understanding how the law defines various types of injuries is critical in coming up with a strategic defense. A mental condition, physical impairment, illness, or physical pain is considered an “injury.”

Serious injuries, on the other hand, include:

  • Second or third-degree burns
  • Fractures
  • Breaks
  • Substantial risk of loss of function of a body part or organ
  • Risk of permanent disfigurement
  • Risk of death

The punishments vary widely but include:

  • Court-ordered drug and alcohol rehab/counseling
  • Probation
  • Drivers’ license suspension
  • Restitution for the victim
  • Court costs and fines
  • Time in state prison if one is injured or killed
  • Time in county jail if a property is damaged

What Are My Legal Obligations After Hitting an Occupied Vehicle?

Drivers can be charged and convicted if they fail to fulfill their legal obligations in an accident. Understanding what you are expected to do per the hit-and-run statute can save you from the consequences. Notably, the law requires you to remain where the accident occurred and offer assistance to the injured persons. Assistance could mean making arrangements to take the victims to a doctor or hospital or doing so yourself.

However, you are allowed to leave the scene in certain circumstances. A Denver hit and run lawyer could help you get relieved of hit & run charges if you left the scene to:

  • Get immediate medical attention after being badly injured in the accident as well
  • Lawfully report the incident to the nearest law enforcement

Can I Be Convicted for Leaving the Accident Scene of an Unoccupied Vehicle?

Just because a vehicle you collided with had no passenger inside or on-site doesn’t make it legal for you to keep driving. You have to stop and try to look for the owner of the car or property that you hit and notify them of the accident.

If you cannot locate them, you do not have to remain there for hours or days. You can only leave, but only after securely attaching a notice in a conspicuous place.

Make sure that you include details such as:

  • The registration number of the vehicle you were driving
  • Your address
  • Your name

It is also essential to drive to the nearest police station and report the incident. Also, be ready to drive back to the scene at the request of the police.

What Penalties Can One Expect for Hit & Run?

You can tell how serious your hit-and-run charges are based on whether it is brought as a felony or a misdemeanor. But even as a misdemeanor, the consequences can be life-changing.

Property Damage

Leaving an accident scene where someone’s property was damaged is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. Its penalties include:

  • Fines of between $150 and $300
  • 10-90 days in jail

Unoccupied Vehicle

Leaving an unoccupied vehicle or property without leaving a notice is also a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. If you are charged, you risk:

  • 10 to 90 days in jail
  • $150 – $300 in fines


If you flee a scene where the death occurred, you can be charged with a Class 3 felony. The penalties here are the highest among all hit-and-run charges and include:

  • Fines of between $3,000 and $750,000
  • Four to 12 years in prison

Serious bodily injuries

The prosecution can charge you with a Class 4 felony if you fail to stop at an accident scene where someone was seriously injured. One can be punished with:

  • Fines of between $2,000 and $500,000
  • Between 2 and 6 years in prison


If the injuries sustained in the hit-and-run incident were not serious, the offense could be classified as a Class 1 traffic misdemeanor. Such a charge comes with:

  • Fines of between $300 and $1,000
  • Ten days to 1 year in jail

Apart from the above fines, jail, and prison times, convicts can get an additional 12 points in their driving records or have their license revoked. A hit-and-run lawyer in Denver, CO, can help you escape these charges with a good defense.

How Can One Defend Themselves Against Hit & Run Charges?

Defending oneself against hit-and-run charges is never that easy, but a hit-and-run lawyer in Denver can come up with a winning defense. Some of the common defenses in Denver are:

  • Nobody was injured, and you left a notice
  • You didn’t realize that property was damaged or anyone was injured
  • You left to get help for someone that was injured
  • You left to look for a police officer
  • You were genuinely unaware of your actions
  • Your injuries were too serious for you to report the incident or remain at the scene

An Experienced Legal Counsel Protecting Your Rights

The consequences of a hit-and-run offense can alter the way you live your life, and it is crucial to work with a strategic hit-and-run attorney in Denver to secure your freedom.

Daniel M. Murphy has been defending people like you since 1996. If you desire honest and aggressive defense in Denver, criminal justice attorney Daniel M. Murphy can give you a positive experience, similar to the ones expressed by other clients on our website.

The right to a lawyer is a fundamental right. Don’t talk to the police before consulting with your Denver defense lawyer. Book a FREE case evaluation today by calling (303) 996-8998 to learn your options.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.