According to reports out of Buckhead, police have a driver in custody after two different people were hit while crossing in a crosswalk on Peachtree Road.
Police stated that both a man and a woman were hit and seriously injured by a vehicle just before 8:00pm last night. The woman is currently in critical condition, and the man is also recovering from his injuries. As of right now, charges are pending against the unidentified driver. Specific details have not been released by police.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I handle cases involving both serious injuries and accidents quite frequently. Seriously injuring someone with a vehicle is a serious offense, and in today's post, I will outline the law behind it.
Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia
Serious Injury by Vehicle in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. §40-6-394 as:
Whoever, without malice, shall cause bodily harm to another by depriving him of a member of his body, by rendering a member of his body useless, by seriously disfiguring his body or a member thereof, or by causing organic brain damage which renders the body or any member thereof useless through the violation of Code Section 40-6-390 or 40-6-391 shall be guilty of the crime of serious injury by vehicle. A person convicted under this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 15 years.
As you can see above, the statute itself does not define what constitutes a serious injury. However, Georgia Law defines a serious injury as anything ranging from a fractured bone to severe burns to a loss of consciousness. To be considered as a serious injury, the injury does not have to be permanent. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not an injury is considered serious is left to be made by the jury.
As you can also see from the law above, the statute does not require that there be any intent to harm a person in order to be guilty of this offense. Bottom line - if someone is seriously injured as the result of someone else's DUI or reckless driving in Georgia, the offense will most likely fall into the law behind serious injury by vehicle.
Serious injury by vehicle is classified as a felony. Alongside vehicular homicide in Georgia, these are the most serious traffic violations that a person can be accused of committing. If convicted of serious injury by vehicle, the penalty can include up to 15 years in prison regardless of the relationship between the accused driver and the injured party.
In order to be convicted of serious injury by vehicle, the accused driver must first be found guilty of either reckless driving or DUI in Georgia. This means that if the alleged DUI or reckless driving charge is properly defended and disproved, then the serious injury by vehicle charge will be dropped.
Just like any area of criminal law, Georgia DUI Laws are complicated and overwhelming. If you or a loved one has been accused of a serious traffic violation, contact our offices today. A Georgia DUI Attorney can help now.