WPIC 97.02 Hit and Run—Injury or Death—Elements
11A WAPRAC WPIC 97.02Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
11A Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 97.02 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
December 2021 Update
Part XI. Crimes Involving Operation of Motor Vehicles
WPIC CHAPTER 97. Hit and Run
WPIC 97.02 Hit and Run—Injury or Death—Elements
To convict the defendant of the crime of hit and run, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) That on or about (date), the defendant was the driver of a vehicle;
(2) That the defendant's vehicle was involved in an accident [resulting in [injury to] [or] [death of] any person] [or] [involving striking the body of a deceased person];
(3) That the defendant knew that [he] [she] had been involved in an accident;
(4) That the defendant failed to satisfy [his] [her] obligation to fulfill all of the following duties:
(a) Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible;
(b) Immediately return to and remain at the scene of the accident until all duties are fulfilled;
(c) [Give [his] [her] name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number and vehicle license number, and exhibit [his] [her] driver's license, to [any person struck or injured] [or] [the driver or any occupant of, or any person attending, any vehicle collided with];]
[Immediately report the accident to the nearest office of the police, give [his] [her] name, address, insurance company, insurance policy number, and vehicle license number, and exhibit [his] [her] driver's license, after fulfilling all other obligations insofar as possible on [his] [her] part to be performed;] and
(d) Render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying or making of arrangements for the carrying of such person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or such carrying is requested by the injured person or on [his] [her] behalf; and
(5) That any of these acts occurred in the State of Washington.
If you find from the evidence that each of these elements has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of guilty.
On the other hand, if after weighing all the evidence you have a reasonable doubt as to any one of these elements, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.
NOTE ON USE
Use this instruction for hit and run cases resulting in injury or death. Use bracketed material as applicable. For directions on using bracketed phrases, see WPIC 4.20 (Introduction).
In element (4)(c), two alternative paragraphs are set forth, reflecting the two alternative duties found in RCW 46.52.020(3) (the primary duty, which is to provide information at the scene of the accident) and 46.52.020(7) (the alternative duty, which is to report the accident if other participants at the scene are not in a condition to receive the information). Use the first paragraph when RCW 46.52.020(3) applies. Use the second paragraph when RCW 46.52.020(7) applies. When there is a factual dispute as to which of the two duties applies to a particular case, then modify the instruction in order to incorporate both paragraphs and to specify the circumstances under which each applies.
For a discussion of the phrase “any of these acts” in the jurisdictional element, see WPIC 4.20 (Introduction) and the Note on Use to WPIC 4.21 (Elements of the Crime—Form).
Because this offense may be committed by alternate means (see the other to-convict instructions in this chapter), and the resulting sentence will vary, a special verdict form may be required. For a discussion of similar issues, see the Comment to WPIC 90.03 (Special Verdict Form—Vehicular Homicide and Assault).
Level of offense. RCW 46.52.020 provides that the offense is a Class B felony if the accident results in a person's death, is a Class C felony if injury of a person results, and is a gross misdemeanor if the accident involves striking the body of a deceased person or results only in damage to a vehicle that is being driven or attended by another person. RCW 46.52.010 provides that hit and run of an unattended vehicle or property is a simple misdemeanor. See WPIC 97.05 (Hit and Run—Unattended Vehicle—Definition) and 97.07 (Hit and Run—Other Property—Definition).
Corpus delicti. To establish the corpus delicti of felony hit and run, the State must prove that a motor vehicle was driven in this state; that the vehicle was involved in an accident; that an injury or death of a person resulted; and that the driver of the vehicle did not stop immediately and remain at the scene of the accident. State v. Sutherland, 104 Wn.App. 122, 15 P.3d 1051 (2001); State v. Komoto, 40 Wn.App. 200, 697 P.2d 1025 (1985). Hit and run driving is leaving the scene of an accident and is totally independent of fault in causing the accident. State v. Perebeynos, 121 Wn.App. 189, 194, 87 P.3d 1216 (2004); State v. Lutman, 26 Wn.App. 766, 768, 614 P.2d 224 (1980).
Knowledge. The offense of hit and run driving includes an element of knowledge. See State v. Martin, 73 Wn.2d 616, 440 P.2d 429 (1968). In State v. Vela, 100 Wn.2d 636, 673 P.2d 185 (1983), the court held that the State is required to prove that the defendant knew the accident occurred, but not that the defendant knew that the accident resulted in injuries. State v. Bourne, 90 Wn.App. 963, 971, 954 P.2d 366 (1998). The State must allege the knowledge element in the information. State v. Sutherland, 104 Wn.App. 122, 129–33, 15 P.3d 1051 (2001).
Definitions. An “accident” under this statutory scheme encompasses both intentional and unintentional conduct. State v. Silva, 106 Wn.App. 586, 24 P.3d 477 (2001). In Silva, the officer intentionally reached in the defendant's car and grabbed the wheel, and Silva intentionally refused to stop the vehicle. The defendant conceded he was driving, that the police officer was injured, and that he did not stop to render aid, but he argued that both his conduct and that of the injured police officer was intentional and not accidental. The court found that, in the hit and run statutory scheme, the word accident encompasses situations involving intentional conduct. State v. Silva, 106 Wn.App. at 590–95.
There is no requirement that a driver collide with another vehicle in order to be “involved in an accident” for purposes of RCW 46.52.010 and .020. State v. Perebeynos, 121 Wn.App. 189, 87 P.3d 1216 (2004); State v. Hughes, 80 Wn.App. 196, 202, 907 P.2d 336 (1995). The court in Perebynos noted that the term “involved” is “an imprecise term incorporating such concepts as being part of, contributing to and being a participant.” State v. Perebeynos, 121 Wn.App. at 194 (citing State v. Hughes, 80 Wn.App at 202).
For clarity, in element (4)(b), the WPI Committee substituted the word “immediately” for the statutory word “forthwith.”
Because “rendering aid to any person” is an inclusive term, no matter how many persons or items of property are injured or damaged, only one count of hit and run may be charged. State v. Ustimenko, 137 Wn.App. 109, 118, 151 P.3d 256 (2007); State v. Bourne, 90 Wn.App. 963, 954 P.2d 366 (1998).
Exceptions to duty. There are limited exceptions to the duty to supply information and aid. In addition to the injury or death reporting exception included in RCW 46.52.020(7), the duty to supply information to the other party in an accident may be excused if the other party leaves the scene of the accident. See State v. Teuber, 19 Wn.App. 651, 577 P.2d 147 (1978) (the requirement to exhibit vehicle operator's license was obviated when the other party left the scene of the accident, because the other party knew the defendant's name, address, and the vehicle license).
Driving on private property. The hit and run statute applies to driving on private property as well as public highways. RCW 46.61.005.
[Current as of March 2020.]
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