There's been a lot of reports of hit and runs or better known as the offense of Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Georgia in the news recently.
The most recent report was on Saturday when DeKalb County police found a body in a ditch near the intersection of Thompson Mill and Rock Spring. The medical examiners determined that the body had been hit by a vehicle.
There was little evidence at the scene of the discovery, and so far, no witnesses have come forward.
In light of all news reports, in today's post, I'd like to focus on hit and runs in Georgia.
Analysis of Hit and Run in Georgia
A Hit and Run in Georgia has two requirements.
- You are involved in a car accident, and
- You leave the scene of the accident before fulfilling your obligations as prescribed by law.
The Georgia Code outlines drivers' obligations if they are involved in an accident. The obligations are as follows:
- Exchange personal information with other involved parties (name, address, vehicle registration information)
- Display a valid driver's license upon request
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone who was injured in the accident and/or transport him or her to the closest medical facility for treatment, if necessary, and
- Contact emergency medical services and police. O.C.G.A. §40-6-270
Drivers involved in an accident are legally required to remain at the scene until all of these responsibilities have been fulfilled. This obligation exists regardless of whether you were the primary cause of the accident or not.
The most important point to understand is that, under Georgia law, anyone involved in an accident assumes these legal responsibilities.
A hit and run accident in Georgia involving either personal injury or property damage to an occupied vehicle is considered a felony offense. Penalties for a felony hit and run conviction can include 1 to 5 years in prison, criminal fines, probation, and suspension of the driver's license.
If the hit and run accident does not involve personal injury or occupied vehicles, then there is a possibility that it could be charged as a misdemeanor.
However, it is important to note that any penalties can be aggravated if police determine that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Georgia or a hit and run accident, contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer today. There are plenty of Georgia DUI Defenses that may apply to your case. Most cases start out as a violation of the law that is cited above regarding your obligations when you get in an accident (O.C.G.A. §40-6-270).
This is the most serious version of the charge with the most serious penalties. However, most general practitioners are unaware that there are other less serious versions of the law itself. The good news is that the facts of your case may be more like these other, less serious versions of the law. (Duty upon Striking unattended vehicle O.C.G.A. §40-6-271 and Duty to Report an Accident O.C.G.A. §40-6-273)