Getting arrested for DUI does not mean you will be convicted. Police misconduct, defective breathalyzers and crime lab mistakes may be enough to get your charges lessened or dismissed. Visit our page on Colorado DUI Laws to learn more.
What is the statute of limitations for hit-and-run in Colorado?
Following a Colorado hit-and-run incident, prosecutors can press criminal charges against the suspect within one year in most cases, three years if serious injury results, five years if death results, and ten years in vehicular homicide cases. Meanwhile, the victim can bring a civil lawsuit within three years after the accident.
A criminal statute of limitations is the time limit in which criminal suspects can be prosecuted. A civil statute of limitations is the time limit in which a person who may have broken the law can be sued by the victim. Once the statute of limitation passes, the person can no longer be held legally liable.
The purpose of statutes of limitation is to encourage prosecutors and victims to take legal action quickly. The more time that passes, the more memories fade and evidence disappears. The most serious Colorado crimes such as murder have no criminal statute of limitations at all.
Below is a chart summarizing the criminal statute of limitations for Colorado hit and run cases.1
|Colorado hit-and-run crime||
Criminal statute of limitations
|Hitting unattended vehicle or property||One year after the accident|
|Causing only property damage||One year after the accident|
|Causing non-serious injuries||One year after the accident|
|Causing serious injuries||Three years after the accident|
|Causing death||Five years after the accident|
|Causing death, plus the defendant committed vehicular homicide (CRS 18-3-106) by driving recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol||Ten years after the accident|
Following a hit-and-run in Colorado, the victim has three years after the accident to sue the driver. And if the case involved vehicular homicide, his/her estate or family has four years following the death to bring a wrongful death suit. Note that it may be possible for this time limit to toll (pause) in certain circumstances, such as if the victim is put in a coma and therefore unable to file a lawsuit.2
Following a car accident in Colorado, the drivers have a duty to stop and exchange information, report the accident, and render aid to injured victims. And if a person hits an unattended vehicle or other unattended property, the driver has the duty to try to find the owner or leave a conspicuous note with his/her information. People who fail to stop at the scene of the accident and perform their duties face hit-and-run charges.
The penalties for hit-and-run in Colorado depend on the seriousness of the case:
Penalties in Colorado
|Hitting unattended vehicle||Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense:
|Only property damage||Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense:
|Causing only non-serious injuries||Class 1 traffic misdemeanor:
|Causing serious injury||Class 4 felony:
|Causing death||Class 3 felony:
If the defendant was allegedly driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol, the defendant would also face charges for vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide by reckless driving is a class 4 felony carrying 2 to 6 years prison, and/or a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. Vehicular homicide by DUI is a class 3 felony, carrying 4 to 12 years in prison, and/or a fine of $3,000 to $750,000.
Learn more about felony hit-and-run.3
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.
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