As the song tells us, Grandma was run over by a reindeer while walking home. We will assume that Santa Claus was the operator and that a reindeer would be classified as a motor vehicle. From what we know, Santa did not remain at the scene, and law enforcement nor medical personnel were notified. In this case, Santa would most likely be charged with a hit-and-run conviction.
In the State of Indiana, hit and run refers to a situation where an individual causes damage or injury to another person or their vehicle, and leaves the scene without stopping to provide their information and provide reasonable assistance. This includes notifying law enforcement and medical personnel. A hit and run charge can range from a Class B misdemeanor for an accident with no injuries to a Level 4 felony if there is serious injury or death.
Depending on the severity of Grandma’s injuries, Santa could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a Level 6 felony. “Bodily injury” means any impairment of physical condition, including physical pain. “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes:
· serious permanent disfigurement;
· extreme pain;
· permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ; or
· loss of a fetus.
If Grandma only had a few bumps and bruises, her injuries would probably classify as bodily injury which would result in Santa getting charged with a Class A misdemeanor hit-and-run. In Indiana, this can result in up to one year in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Now, if Grandma’s legs were broken or she suffered head trauma as a result of the hit-and-run, this would probably classify as serious bodily injury. As a result, Santa would probably be charged with a Level 6 felony which can result in up to three years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. In the most extreme circumstance, if Grandma died as a result of the hit-and-run, Santa would be charged with a Level 4 felony which can result in up to twelve years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
In order to avoid the hit-and-run conviction, Santa should have stopped his vehicle, and/or reindeer, at the scene (or as close to the scene as possible), provided his information to anyone involved, and provided reasonable assistance and contacted the police since the accident resulted in injury to Grandma. But because it does not sound like he did, Santa is likely getting charged in this scenario.
If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, contact McNeelyLaw today. Call us at 317-825-5110 to talk with an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate your case.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.