A driver who is arrested for driving under the influence can end up facing more charges than just DUI, depending on the facts and circumstances of his or her case. A driver who hits another car and leaves the scene may be charged with both DUI and Hit and Run. A driver who doesn't stop for the police or drives off after being stopped by a law enforcement officer may end up facing charges for fleeing on top of the drunk driving charge. A driver who commits multiple offenses can end up with greater criminal penalties including more fines and a longer jail sentence, as well as a longer administrative license suspension.
This page will discuss the offenses of Hit and Run and Fleeing the Police in more detail.
Hit And Run in Roswell & Alpharetta Georgia
It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident in Georgia. If someone was injured or if there was damage to property, drivers have an obligation to stay at the scene. Though it may be tempting to flee if you are intoxicated because you don't want to be charged with a DUI, leaving will only result in greater penalties as you may end up facing multiple charges.
Georgia law states that "[t]he driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident." O.C.G.A 40-6-270(a). A driver is required to give his or her contact information as well as render assistance to anyone who was injured in the accident by making sure the injured person or persons receives any needed medical treatment.
Leaving the scene of an accident can be either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense. What an individual is charged with will depend on what happened in the case:
- If a person leaves the scene after an accident where there is "an injury other than a serious injury," this is considered a misdemeanor offense. It is also a misdemeanor to leave "if such accident resulted in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person." O.G.C.A. 40-6-270(c)(1). The penalty for a first conviction may include a fine of between $300 and $1,000, up to 12 months in prison, or both a fine and prison time.
- If you hit a parked car and don't leave any contact information, you could also be charged with a misdemeanor. O.G.C.A. 40-6-271.
- If there is a death or a serious injury and you flee the scene of the accident, this is considered to be felony hit and run. This offense is more serious and can result in a prison sentence of between one and five years if convicted. O.G.C.A. 40-6-270(b).
A driver who commits a hit and run can also have his or her license suspended on top of any criminal penalties he or she is given. Many times drivers can get restricted licenses during the period of time their license is suspended so that they can get to places like work or school. However, this is not true for all offenses. If a driver is convicted of a Hit and Run with DUI, that driver will not be able to get any kind of temporary driving permit. Contact you Alpharetta DUI Attorney for more information.
If a driver is involved in an accident with a fixture, such as a pole, that driver is obligated to "take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of his name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle he is driving and shall, upon request and if available, exhibit his operator's license." O.G.C.A. 40-6-272.
In addition, in certain situations, a driver who is in an accident is required to report the accident to law enforcement. In Georgia, a driver is obligated to report if there was "injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500.00 or more." O.G.C.A. 40-6-273.
Fleeing The Police in Roswell & Alpharetta Georgia
At some point in their lives, most people have seen a police chase on the news. As you watched the broadcast you may have wondered what compelled the driver to keep going after he or she was told to pull over by law enforcement. The answers will vary. Some people may have chosen to flee to attempt to avoid being arrested for a crime, such as DUI. Others may have kept driving by mistake because they did not see or hear the police car behind them.
It is against the law in Georgia "for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren." O.C.G.A. 40-6-395(a).
It is important to be aware that a driver is only required to stop for a law enforcement officer. The law states that when an officer attempts to stop someone, he or she "shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle." O.C.G.A. 40-6-395(a).
It is a serious criminal offense to flee or attempt to run from law enforcement and a conviction can result in harsh penalties.
- A first offense is considered to be a high and aggravated misdemeanor. This is a more serious charge than a regular misdemeanor. If convicted, the penalty can include a fine of between $500 and $5,000, and a prison sentence ranging from 10 days to 12 months.
- A driver can be charged with a felony if he or she does any of the following while running from police:
- drives over "20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit"
- hits a pedestrian or another vehicle
- "[f]lees in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries" (e.g., rush hour traffic)
- drives his or her vehicle out of the state
- has a BAC of .08 or higher
A conviction for this offense can result in a $5,000 fine and a prison sentence of between one and five years. O.G.C.A. 40-6-395(b)(5)(A). In addition, a person convicted of this offense can have his or her license suspended.
Contact a Roswell or Alpharetta DUI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, a hit and run, fleeing police, or all of the above, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson. It is important to take these charges seriously as a conviction for any one of these offenses can have a serious impact on your life. Roswell DUI Attorney, Richard Lawson has been working as a criminal defense attorney in Georgia for over twenty years and his practice is devoted exclusively to defending those charged with DUI and other related crimes. Let his experience, dedication, and knowledge work for you. Call his office today at (404) 816-4440 or contact us online.