Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1601 CRS makes it a crime to leave the scene of a car accident that results in bodily injury or death. Instead, drivers have a duty to stop immediately, render aid, exchange information, and contact the police. Penalties for hit and run include fines, incarceration, and a driver’s license revocation.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
CRS 42-4-1601. (1) The driver of any vehicle directly involved in an accident resulting in injury to, serious bodily injury to, or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close to the scene as possible or shall immediately return to the scene of the accident. The driver shall then remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of section 42-4-1603 (1). Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
(1.5) It shall not be an offense under this section if a driver, after fulfilling the requirements of subsection (1) of this section and of section 42-4-1603 (1), leaves the scene of the accident for the purpose of reporting the accident in accordance with the provisions of sections 42-4-1603 (2) and 42-4-1606.
(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits:
(a) A class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense if the accident resulted in injury to any person;
(b) A class 4 felony if the accident resulted in serious bodily injury to any person;
(c) A class 3 felony if the accident resulted in the death of any person.
(3) The department shall revoke the driver’s license of the person so convicted. A revocation pursuant to this subsection (3) runs concurrently with any suspension imposed pursuant to section 42-2-127.9, if imposed as a result of the same episode of driving.
(4) As used in this section and sections 42-4-1402.5, 42-4-1603, and 42-4-1606:
(a) “Injury” means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical or mental condition.
(b) “Serious bodily injury” means injury that involves, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, or a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree.
CRS 42-4-1601 requires drivers in Colorado to stop if they are involved in an accident causing bodily injury or death. And they must remain there to render aid to injured drivers (if necessary) and to exchange information, including their names, addresses, vehicle registration numbers, and insurance information. Finally, they must call the police to report the accident.1
Drivers who fail to stop at the scene of an accident face criminal charges for hit and run and a driver’s license revocation. The seriousness of the case depends on the extent of the injuries involved. Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death is a class 3 felony, punishable by
- 4 to 12 years in prison, and/or
- A fine of $3,000 to $750,000
- 2 to 6 years prison, and/or
- A fine of $2,000 to $500,000
Finally, leaving the scene of an accident causing non-serious injuries is a class 1 traffic misdemeanor, punishable by
- 10 days to 1 year in jail, and/or
- A fine of $300 to $1,0002
Injuries are considered serious if they involve either substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body. Broken bones and second- and third-degree burns also qualify as serious bodily injuries.3