How are Hit and Run Accidents Defined in GA?
Georgia law defines hit and run as leaving the scene of an accident without first providing your name, address, and vehicle information to the other driver and ensuring that people injured in the accident receive medical attention.
It is easy to find advice about what to do after a hit and run accident, but most of the advice is directed toward the person whose car got hit by a driver who quickly disappeared. People in that situation should file insurance claims and, if they are seriously injured, contact a personal injury lawyer. What happens if you are the one who left the scene after causing an accident? What are the legal consequences? The short answer is it depends, and a Gwinnett County criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid the worst outcomes.
Is Hit and Run a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
After a car accident, you have a legal responsibility to provide your name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other driver, and you must show them your driver’s license if they ask to see it. You must remain at the scene until you have provided this information. If anyone was injured in the accident, you must stay at the scene long enough to ensure that the injured people receive medical attention, in other words, until a police officer or ambulance arrives.
The Georgia statute that defines the crime of hit and run is Georgia Code O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270. Hit and run is a misdemeanor if there are no serious bodily injuries resulting from the accident, or if the accident only resulted in damages to a vehicle. It is a felony if the accident caused serious injuries or death.
Hit and Run and DUI in Georgia
Most of the time, when people leave the scene after causing an accident, it is not because they do not care whether they hurt someone, or because they are oblivious to the fact that they hit another car; it is usually because they have reason to fear that something worse will happen if they stay, than just getting charged for hit and run. Most hit and run accidents involve drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Even if you cause a car accident while driving drunk, the legal consequences will be less severe if you stay at the scene. Not everyone who causes a car accident while under the influence of alcohol goes to jail, especially not with plea deals, pretrial diversion programs, and the efforts of criminal defense lawyers. In other words, getting charged with DUI is a lot less bad than getting charged with DUI and hit and run.
Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Criminal Charges for Leaving the Scene of a Traffic Accident
An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for hit and run, even if the accident resulted in injuries, and even if you are also being accused of DUI. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.