Can You Go To Jail For Scratching A Car

In most states, it is illegal to hit and damage a parked car, then leave the scene without giving the other party your details. Most often, if it was hitting an empty car, misdemeanor charges are brought by the prosecution, although that is the light penalty.

Penalties from the court could comprise a year jail time, so it makes sense to try and locate the other driver before you leave the scene. Once you find them, you can present your driver’s license and vehicle registration, and other contact information so insurance claims can be processed.

If you can’t locate the owner, it is customary to leave a note outlining the circumstances of hitting their car accidentally and causing minor damage in a parking lot. Suppose a driver flees the scene, giving no contact information, leaving you the victim of a hit-and-run accident. In that case, you’d need the information to give your personal injury attorney and process an insurance claim with an insurance provider.

If you don’t have collision coverage or insurance, you’d need to pay for damages out of your own money. Other instances occur where someone was found guilty of causing damage on purpose.

In our guide, you can learn more about the penalty for scratching a car and leaving the scene. By the end, you’ll see why it makes sense to contact the owner as if you are caught, you could find increased rates on your insurance, or no insurance provider would insure you, not to mention you’d have a criminal record. (Read Will A 55 Inch TV Fit In My Car)

Hitting a parked car

What Is A Parked Car Hit And Run?

When a car accident involves hitting a parked car, the car flees the scene. This is known as a “parked car hit and run.”

In most countries, a prosecution must successfully establish the following factors to convict you of a parked car hit-and-run:

  • You were operating a motor vehicle when the auto accident occurred.
  • Property damage from the collision included damage to a parked vehicle.
  • You should have known or been aware that the accident caused damage, and you knowingly did not stop at the scene of the collision or did not give the vehicle’s owner sufficient identification.

Be aware that this is a frequent infraction in parking lots or parking spots where cars are close together.

What If The Parked Vehicle Has No Damage?

In most states, a hit-and-run driver is only considered criminally responsible if they somehow damaged the parked car. You are not guilty of a hit-and-run if you did not cause damage to the parked car. This holds even if you hit a parked car and your car was damaged.

Remember that taking images of the parked vehicle in these circumstances is better to show you didn’t damage it.

Is A Hit And Run Of A Parked Vehicle a Felony?

Most states only say hit-and-run to be a felony if it results in bodily injury to another person. Prosecutors usually charge a crime as a misdemeanor if there is no injury, and most often, you get a scratching a-car punishment.

What to do if you hit a parked car?

If you hit a parked car, look for the owner and provide them with the following information:

  • Your vehicle registration and driver’s license.
  • Your contact details, such as your current street address and phone number, should also be given to the owner.
  • In addition, you should exchange your motor insurance policy information if the owner requests it.

If you cannot locate the owner of the owner, leave a note to explain what happened along with contact information.

What Happens When Someone Hits My Parked Car And Leaves?

Rely on your insurance provider to cover any property damage if someone crashes your parked vehicle and then drives away without providing their contact or insurance information.

Typically, the claims process starts with submitting an insurance claim to your insurer. Then, your insurance company’s adjuster will examine the damage and determine how much it will cost to fix.

Your insurance provider will cover the costs because the accident was not your fault if it comes outside the guidelines of the collision coverage in your policy. However, the deductible under the policy still applies to this and will come from your own pocket.

If you don’t have car insurance, you’ll have to foot the bill for any damage. To avoid paying, you can try the hit-and-run driver. However, their liability coverage can only be used for the costs of damage after the driver has been identified.

Contacting a police officer or your neighborhood police department and filing a police report should be your first step in identifying the at-fault driver.

Trying a hit-and-run driver can find via the use of security cameras. It might be possible to identify the driver if they recorded the car’s license plate number. Once that driver has been located, a claim can be made against their insurance provider. (Learn How Long Can I Use My Parents Address As My Permanent Address)

Scratch a Car


What Does it Mean to Scratch a Car?

Scratching a car means denting it, and it can easily be your car scratching another car.

Car scratches can frustrate many car enthusiasts, as no one likes reckless drivers scratching their cars.

There are 3 types of car scratches:

  1. Clear-coat scratch
  2. Primer-level scratch and
  3. Deep-paint scratch.


  1. Clear Coat: A clear coat is a thin coat of paint that shields the car’s body from environmental hazards, including acid rain, dust, direct sunlight, etc. This scratch can be readily patched or repaired if it affects a car.
  2. Primer Level Scratch: A scrape that affects a car’s primer is referred to as a primer scratch. The car’s body may rust if a scratch penetrates through the clear coat layer and affects the primer. If it does, you’ll need a repair sooner rather than later.
  3. Deep Paint Scratch: The deep paint scratch is the worst. It occurs when an automobile’s body sustains damage to where the metal sheet underneath the car can be seen. Only serious collisions or deliberate damage to the car’s body with a sharp object like a key or another hard object cause this type of scratch.

When Can You Go to Jail for Scratching a Car?

You may be charged and detained if you flee the scene of the incident when hitting someone else’s car. Similar rules apply if there are injuries or a fatality; leaving the accident scene will get you arrested.

No matter how stressed or anxious you are, never leave the scene of a car scratch. You may be accused of being a “hit and run driver” and charged with a felony in court if you leave the scene of an accident after hitting someone.

Leave a note under the wiper with your name and contact information so that the person may find you if the owner of the car is not in the occurrence’s vicinity.

Even better, you can report the police to report incident or turn yourself in at the local police station.

When Won’t You Go to Jail for Scratching a Car?

When you wait and get in touch with the car’s owner, you cannot be arrested for scratching it. You will not go to jail for scratching the car if you apologize to the owner and let them know it was an accident.

Furthermore, you won’t do any jail time for a minor offense if you report it to the police. Only after you depart the scene of the incident can you be put in jail since otherwise, it would only appear to be on purpose, and you risk being charged with a felony. (Read My Brake Pedal Is Stiff And Car Won’t Start)

What To Do After Scratching a Car?

Scratching a car as a driver isn’t new. But, unfortunately, even skilled drivers have accidents.

However, how you scratch a car matters. Post-incident treatment is more crucial than the occurrence. Find police or get a free consultation with a legal expert.

After scratching a car, do the following to clear yourself legally and ethically.

Stay Composed

It is only reasonable to feel anxious and frightened after scratching a car. However, it must show composure throughout this period and avoid displaying any signs of panic.

When they learn they have scratched an expensive car and the repair cost could be fairly significant, many individuals frequently panic. Try your best to maintain your composure and avoid becoming possible.

Take Pictures of the Scratched Car

Don’t Leave The Scene

Staying at the scene is the most important thing you should do after scratching a car.

Fleeing the scene suggests that it was done on purpose and that you are unwilling to accept responsibility. It will be difficult for the owner of the car, the police, and your insurance provider to believe you.

When you leave the scene, it seems you have committed a felony or a misdemeanor, which is against the law. As a result, you may receive a fine, a jail sentence, or license points.

Instead, you ought to locate the car’s owner. Ask around and attempt to find the owner if you can’t see them.

Leave Your Contact Details If You Need To Leave

Leaving a note on the car for the owner to contact you when they arrive is an option if you’ve tried everything else and still can’t leave the owner.

Your name and address (phone, email, and even your home address) should be included in the note. With this, you may contact the car’s owner afterward and contact at ease.

Inform the Police About the Accident

If you can’t get in touch with the car’s owner, many states mandate that you promptly report accidents to the police.

If you cannot reach the car’s owner in New York, you are required by law to contact the police. This law is in place in numerous other states as well. If you don’t, you are in breach of the law, and a specified penalty is associated with it.

Take Video or Pictures of the Scratched Car

Take images and videos with your phone if you need to provide proof or evidence for something to the car owner, your car insurance company, and the police. To show the magnitude of the damage, you must take this action.

Inform Your Insurance Provider

If a car insurance company covers your own vehicle, you need to inform them ASAP. Tell them the details of the accident scene and leave them to handle the rest. (Read Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Car Air Conditioner – What To Do)

Consult An Attorney

Although it is not legally required, we strongly advise you to arrange a free consultation with a nearby car accident lawyer. Your culpability may be reduced, or you may claim damages with the aid of a car accident lawyer.

Can You Go To Jail For Scratching A Car