If you get into an accident, you may be thinking about leaving the scene. Whether it's because you don't think you can afford to pay for the damage, or you don't have insurance, or you may be driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident can result in some very stiff penalties. However, if you have been charged with a hit and run, or a DUI hit and run in Georgia, you still have a chance to win your case or have your charges reduced. Contact an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer who can help put your fears to rest.
DUI Hit and Run Laws in Georgia
Hit and run laws in Georgia depend on the seriousness of the accident, and whether or not there was anyone in the other car. Any kind of hit and run conviction will result in penalties, which will come in addition to any other charges related to the accident, such as a DUI, driving on a suspended license, or driving without insurance.
Imagine you are leaving a bar. You feel okay to drive and are only driving a short distance, so you get behind the wheel. While backing out, you bump into a car behind you. You may be tempted to drive off because you didn't think there would be much damage, and if you waited for the other driver, they may call the police. The police may suspect you are driving under the influence, which could lead to your arrest. However, before deciding to drive away, consider the Georgia criminal penalties that could result from such a scenario.
Unattended Vehicle Hit and Run
When a driver collides with another vehicle, if it is unattended, the driver has an immediate duty to stop, and try and locate or notify the owner of the vehicle, or to leave a written notice of their name and address in a conspicuous place on the vehicle. Failure to do so can result in a misdemeanor.
If you drive off after a fender bender, someone in the parking lot may have noticed the accident, and taken down your license plate. They may call the police who could place you under arrest for leaving the scene of an accident. They may also arrest you for a DUI.
Serious Hit and Run
In another scenario, you could be driving and suddenly are involved in a car accident. Your decision-making may be shook up, and you worry that you may be at fault. You start to think about all the costs of an accident. Maybe you are worried that even though you don't think your driving was impaired, the police may suspect you had too much to drink and you'll get arrested for a DUI.
Getting arrested for a hit and run involving an accident with injury, death, or damage to a vehicle can lead to serious penalties, even jail time. The law requires a driver to do certain things after an accident. A driver is to immediately stop at the scene, give their name, address, and registration information, and show the other person their driver's license, if requested.
Where there as an injury, the driver is also required to render assistance, and help make arrangements for transportation to the hospital. If the accident involves another person who is unconscious, appears deceased, or is unable to communicate, the driver has a duty to contact emergency medical services or law enforcement to report the accident.
In an accident with serious injury or death, failing to stop and provide assistance can lead to a felony charge of a hit and run. This is a felony crime, and could lead to 5 years in prison, and a permanent felony record.
Atlanta Hit and Run DUI Lawyer
It may seem like there is no way to avoid jail time after a hit and run DUI. But you still have a chance to go on with a clean record, and stay out of jail. There are a number of possible defenses that could be used to get the DUI and hit and run charges against you reduced or even dismissed entirely. This will depend on your case, so you should speak with an experienced, local Atlanta DUI attorney to discuss your options. Give me a call, and I will stand up for your rights in court.