It is a driver’s responsibility to stay at the scene of an accident in which they were involved, and fleeing the collision site could have serious consequences. If you have been charged with this offense, you should speak with a DeKalb County hit and run lawyer immediately to discuss the details of the incident.
Hit and run charges are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the extent of your criminal history. Whether this is your first hit and run charge or a subsequent offense, working with the right attorney could simplify the complex legal process and give you valuable peace of mind.
According to Official Code of Georgia Annotated §40-6-270, any driver who causes another person’s injury or death must remain at the accident scene. This responsibility also applies to drivers who cause property damage, such as damage to another vehicle or a residential space. The driver must provide their real name, correct contact information, and the number of the vehicle they are driving. If they have their driver’s license available, they must show it upon request.
The at-fault driver must also provide “reasonable assistance” to the injured parties, such as calling 911 or transporting them to a local hospital. If the injured person is unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, the driver must make “every reasonable effort” to ensure that local law enforcement and emergency medics arrive at the scene.
The driver must remain at the accident scene until all of these requirements have been fulfilled, preferably while obstructing traffic as little as possible. To avoid hit and run charges, any vehicle accidents resulting in injuries, fatalities, or property damage over $500 require drivers to inform local law enforcement first before speaking with a DeKalb County attorney.
Drivers who hit parked, unattended vehicles must also adhere to state laws outlined in O.C.G.A. §40-6-271. The at-fault driver must inform the vehicle’s owner if possible and provide their contact information, or leave a note detailing the incident. The note must include contact information and should be placed in an area the vehicle owner will see, such as under a windshield wiper.
If the hit and run incident is a driver’s first offense that resulted in minor property damage and or injuries, the driver would face a misdemeanor fine of between $300 and $1,000, and or up to 12 months of jail time. Second and third convictions within five years of previous offenses are also misdemeanors. Convictions can equal up to one year in prison, with a second offense leading to between $600 and $1,000 in fines. A third offense could result in a fine of up to $1,000.
Hit and run accidents causing serious injuries or death are felonies. If convicted, the driver would face a prison sentence of up to five years. Additional penalties can include license suspension and mandated driver safety courses, depending on the offense number and severity.
A skilled lawyer in DeKalb County could defend a hit and run accident in numerous ways. For example, they could say the police officer mistakenly believed the defendant left the scene, or that the individual simply failed to report hitting a car or other object.
If you are accused of leaving the scene of an accident, contact a DeKalb County hit and run lawyer today. Qualified legal counsel could be crucial in your fight to defend yourself against your charges and restore your legal standings and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.