What’s a Hit and Run? A Hit and Run is a serious traffic offense in Georgia and consequences for violating this law is equally taxing. Penalties include license suspension, fines, probation and mandatory jail or prison time, depending.
A hit and run offense is commonly called leaving the scene of an accident. This happens when someone strikes, collides or sideswipes another vehicle or person and leaves the scene after the accident occurs. The amount of property damage can be minor, but the duty to stop and assure that others are “OK” exists, under Georgia law.
The driver fails to uphold his or her responsibility as a licensed motorist and stops at the scene of the incident or as close as possible to where the accident occured. If the driver panics and leaves the scene, he or she is now facing criminal charges and possibly civil charges.
Hit and run accidents in Atlanta, GA are as common as DUI cases. Plus, these commonly result in damage to the vehicles involved, and possible injury or even death, to others.
Have you recently fled the scene of an accident? You need to contact a hit and run attorney near me BEFORE speaking with anyone else. Since many metro Atlanta police departments have a full time hit & run police staff these cases will be pursued diligently, for months (or longer).
Our criminal defense lawyers in the metro Atlanta area have represented numerous hit and run cases throughout their collective 80 years of practicing law. The most commonly asked questions remain the same: “How do you get hit and run charges dropped?” and “Can you go to jail for hit and run?”
A hit and run charge may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. Hit and run is one of the five Rules of the Road violations included in Felony First Degree Vehicular Homicide Law.
Meaning, when the hit and run driver deliberately leaves the scene of the accident without fulfilling the duty of the driver to render aid or call emergency services, this violates OCGA 40-6-270. When the offense results in a serious injury or death and the hit and run is proven in court, the crime will be prosecuted as a 1st degree felony offense.
Georgia Hit and Run Law: How to get out of a Hit and Run Charge
Avoid leaving the scene of an accident for any reason until providing contact information and insurance company information, or if someone is injured in the accident wait for first responders to arrive or make sure the other person (people) involved are okay. If you are facing hit and run charges, it is necessary to retain a knowledgeable and experienced traffic offense attorney that knows hit and run laws in Georgia.
Each of our lawyers possess skills that allow them to better represent their clients for charges such as these. Vehicular injury attorney William C. “Bubba” Head specializes in defending vehicular homicide Georgia and serious injury by vehicle Georgia charges.
Veteran DUI defense attorney Larry A. Kohn proficiently challenges the State’s evidence. DUI defense lawyer Cory E. Yager was in law enforcement before practicing GA law, giving him additional insight on the entire process.
“How to get a hit and run dismissed?” Our defense attorneys in GA are your best option at having these hit and run charges dropped.
The other most popular question our clients ask is “Can you go to jail for a hit and run?” Yes, it is a possibility. The punishment for leaving the scene of an accident, misdemeanor (damage and some injury ) are as follows:
- First conviction: fines $300.00-$1,000.00 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months and license suspension for 120 days,
- Second conviction (within 5 years time from the previous arrest): fines $600.00-$1,000.00 and or imprisonment for up to 12 months and license suspension for 120 days, reinstatement is possible for $200.00-$210.00 fee on or after day 121 with a DDS defensive driving course Certificate of Completion or Risk Reduction program; and
- Third conviction or subsequent conviction: trigger the driver being declared a Habitual Violator (if the other 2 offenses are within 5 years time from the date of the first accident). This will bar that driver from being behind the wheel of any motor vehicle for 5 years. In addition, he or she can have fines of $1,000.00 (plus surcharges) and or face imprisonment for up to 12 months.
The punishment for a hit and run, felony (serious personal injury or death) is as follows:
- Up to 15 years prison sentence for each serious injury or death under Georgia’s first degree vehicular homicide law
OCGA Hit and Run: Hit and Run Defense Lawyer Atlanta explains the Statute
Hit and Run OCGA 40-6-270
(a) The 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 and shall:
- (1) Give his or her name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving;
- (2) Upon request and if it is available, exhibit his or her operator’s license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with;
- (3) Render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the transporting, or the making of arrangements for the transporting, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such transporting is requested by the injured person; and
- (4) Where a person injured in such an accident is unconscious, appears deceased, or is otherwise unable to communicate, make every reasonable effort to ensure that emergency medical services and local law enforcement are contacted for the purpose of reporting the accident and making a request for assistance.
- The driver shall in every event remain at the scene of the accident until fulfilling the requirements of this subsection. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
To avoid hit and run charges, the driver needs to follow the above-mentioned steps, stay at the scene and wait for the first responders to arrive.
What Happens if Being Charged with both DUI and Hit and Run Charges
It is common to receive GA hit and run charges in addition to other violations, such as Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol or drugs) DUI charges in GA. The felony punishments are similar for fleeing from the scene of an accident and driving under the influence charges.
Georgia law penalizes harshly for both DUI convictions (misdemeanor or felony) and hit and run convictions. DUI, by alcohol or drugs, falls under the same Felony First Degree Vehicular Homicide Law. Loss of driving privileges occurs if convicted of misdemeanor or felony hit & run charges.
DUI hit and run punishments are as follows in GA:
- DUI hit and run first offense, misdemeanor (vehicle homicide) discretion of the judge, which ranges from 0 days to 12 months imprisonment in county jail,
- DUI hit and run first offense, felony(resulting in death) is imprisonment for 3-15 years and first offense, felony(resulting in serious injury) is imprisonment for 1-15 years; and
- Mandatory 12 month license suspension
Georgia Hit and Run License Suspension
Certain duties to others apply as part of having the privilege to drive on Georgia’s roads and highways. One duty is to stay at the scene after an accident. Failure to do so may result in license suspension.
If you stay at the scene after an accident, you and the other driver may decide to swap license and insurance information and not involve your insurance company by filing a claim. GA law requires motorists a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage of $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident for bodily injury liability and $25,000.00 property damage liability.
The Scoop on Georgia Hit and Run Parked Car Cases
Two other types of hit and run accidents 1) hit and run with a parked car, and 2) hit and run with fixed objects. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for someone to hit a parked and unattended vehicle and drive off without leaving any contact information. Regardless of if the hit and run is on private property or public property, according to §40-6-271
Duty when striking an unattended vehicle states the driver MUST either locate and inform the owner of the parked car or leave a note in a visible location with the driver’s name and address. In this day and age, almost everyone has access to their own camera.
So if you find yourself in Georgia involved in a hit and run parked car, and no witness present at the scene, keep in mind it is easy for a witness nearby (or static security cameras from businesses or apartment complexes) to videotape the accident. Majority of parked car hit and run charges in GA are misdemeanors.
Call today to speak with our Georgia hit and run lawyers today at 404-567-5515 for your free consultation. Our attorneys represent clients throughout the metro Atlanta area.
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