Skip to Content

Is It a Traffic Offense If I Merely Bump Another Car and Leave?


When New Yorkers hear the term “hit-and-run” they likely imagine dramatic scenes where speeding vehicles collide with pedestrians and then race off without ever slowing down. While situations such as the one just described do constitute hit-and-run accidents, under New York law a hit-and-run can occur under considerably less obvious circumstances. A person can commit a hit-and-run accident on an unoccupied vehicle and there are important steps that they should take to avoid criminal liability.

First, under the law a person who knows or should know that they hit another vehicle must stop and offer to the other party or parties their contact and driver’s license information. If the alleged responsible party hits an unoccupied vehicle, then they must go to a police station and self-report their incident so that the alleged victim can be notified and provided with the proper information. Failure of a driver to undertake these steps may constitute a traffic violation, resulting in a fine or a short period of imprisonment in jail.

If a driver allegedly causes an injury due to a collision and leaves the scene of the accident, their punishments may be significantly higher. A hit-and-run charge may further be exacerbated by the driver’s alleged use of a suspended or revoked license at the time of the relevant collision.

Defending oneself against hit-and-run charges can be time-consuming and difficult. These seemingly straightforward charges can be complicated when victims allege injuries and a person’s driving privileges are under review. To prepare for a hit-and-run hearing, readers are encouraged to learn more about how the law would apply in their specific situations.