Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be a scary and frustrating experience. Not only may you have suffered injuries, but the at-fault driver fled the scene, making it difficult to identify them and hold them accountable.
If you were the victim of a hit-and-run in Colorado, you may be wondering what evidence is needed to convict the hit-and-run driver.
The criminal defense attorneys at Right Law Group have extensive experience representing victims of hit-and-run accidents in Colorado. We are committed to gathering the necessary evidence to build a strong case and maximize your chance of obtaining justice. Read on to learn more about the evidence needed to convict on a hit-and-run in Colorado.
What Constitutes a Hit-and-Run Accident in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, a hit-and-run accident occurs when a driver is involved in a vehicle accident that results in injury, death, or property damage and then flees the scene without providing required information or rendering aid.
Specifically, the law requires drivers involved in an accident to immediately stop at the scene and provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver. Drivers must also show their license and insurance information upon request.
If the accident caused any injuries, drivers are required to provide reasonable assistance to the injured person, including transporting them to receive medical care if needed. Failure to stop, provide information, and render aid is a criminal hit-and-run offense.
What Are the Different Types of Evidence in a Hit and Run Case?
To convict a hit-and-run driver, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving the vehicle involved in the accident and then unlawfully fled the scene. This requires gathering as much evidence as possible to identify the at-fault driver and establish the circumstances of the accident.
There are several different types of evidence that may be useful:
- Physical evidence from the accident scene, such as vehicle parts, paint transfer, or blood evidence, indicates a collision occurred. This can help link a particular vehicle to the accident.
- Video footage of the actual accident shows the collision and the fleeing vehicle. This provides definite proof.
- Eyewitness accounts from people who saw the accident happen and can describe the vehicles involved. Their testimony helps identify the at-fault driver.
- Circumstantial evidence that implies a driver’s involvement, such as damage to a suspect vehicle consistent with the accident or a driver changing their vehicle’s appearance after the fact.
- DMV and registration records used to trace license plate numbers to identify potential suspects if a partial plate was obtained.
- Cell phone records placing a driver in the vicinity of the accident scene around the time it occurred.
- Police reports containing officer accounts, witness statements, and physical evidence collected. Reports provide official documentation.
- Insurance claims if the at-fault driver later filed an insurance claim for damage sustained in the accident. This can demonstrate their involvement.
How Much Evidence Is Needed to Prove a Hit and Run Case?
The amount of evidence needed to secure a hit-and-run conviction will vary case by case based on the specific circumstances. It is essential for prosecutors to collect sufficient evidence to effectively demonstrate that the defendant is guilty of the crime.
At a minimum, the evidence should identify the at-fault vehicle and place the defendant as the driver fleeing the accident scene. Additional evidence showing the driver knew an accident occurred but still failed to stop will strengthen the case.
The more evidence available from multiple sources, the stronger the case will be. Even if there is no single piece of irrefutable proof, compiling various eyewitness accounts, video footage, and physical evidence together can conclusively demonstrate the defendant’s guilt.
An experienced car accident attorney can help gather evidence and build the strongest possible case against a hit-and-run driver. They know what evidence prosecutors look for and will work diligently to gather everything needed for a conviction.
What Factors Determine If a Hit and Run is a Misdemeanor or Felony in Colorado?
The main factors dictating whether a hit and run is charged as a misdemeanor or felony include:
- The severity of injuries – Hit and runs resulting in serious bodily injury or death are second-degree felony offenses punishable by 4-12 years in prison. Less severe injuries may still qualify as a class 5 felony.
- Failure to render reasonable assistance – Fleeing an accident scene without providing injured victims medical care or transport can increase charges.
- Prior hit-and-run offenses – Repeat hit-and-run offenders face increased charges for prior convictions within 5 years.
- License revocation – Committing a hit and run while your license is already suspended/revoked also elevates charges.
Due to the complexities involved, it’s important to have an experienced attorney assist if you were the victim of a serious hit-and-run accident. They can help gather evidence to prove the at-fault driver should face felony rather than misdemeanor charges.
When Should You Contact a Hit and Run Attorney?
If you were the innocent victim of a hit-and-run, it’s critical to contact a personal injury attorney right away before evidence disappears. An attorney can launch an immediate investigation to identify the at-fault driver using accident reconstruction experts, DMV records, video footage, and eyewitness testimonies.
They will aggressively preserve all evidence needed to prove your case and hold the hit-and-run driver accountable through criminal charges. This helps prevent the at-fault party from evading responsibility.
An attorney can also fight to recover compensation for your injuries, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and other damages through insurance claims or civil lawsuits. Don’t let a hit-and-run driver escape liability – seek legal help immediately to protect your rights.
Consulting With a Hit and Run Accident Attorney
As this overview demonstrates, building a convincing hit-and-run criminal case hinges on gathering a variety of quality evidence. A criminal defense attorney like Right Law Group can be invaluable in identifying, preserving, and presenting this evidence.
For a free consultation about your potential hit-and-run claim with our top-rated Colorado attorneys, contact Right Law Group today.