According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC Attribution), 19 year old Emily Bowman was struck by a hit and run driver in Athens. There is simply no excuse for this kind of behavior. Almost all driving offenses are crimes of general intent. This means that people generally make a mistake that causes the violation of the law. These mistakes range from simple speeding offenses, to failure to maintain lane, to accidents, following too closely, to even reckless driving. Even, DUI in Georgia is normally a crime of general intent. No one intends to go out and get a DUI.
However, hit and run in Georgia and its close cousin leaving the scene of an accident are crimes of specific intent. That means the crime is committed by someone who actually makes a decision to do something wrong when they decide to leave an injured person or someone they should have known is injured. This is unacceptable in civil society, and this driver should be punished severely.
Now, I can understand when an accident happens with another vehicle and there is a momentary loss of judgement and a person drives off. Most of my clients who have done that actually return to the scene moments later. I also can understand that due to impairment, someone does not realize they had a minor scrap of fender bender. Many times the police arrive at the drivers door within an hour. Hitting a pedestrian is an entirely different matter.
Hitting a pedestrian is something that cannot be mistaken by a driver. At the moment of impact the driver made a decision to leave. In the off chance that there was some confusion, surely the driver would know what he or she did moments later or at least when they arrived home. At the very least, the driver would know of the news stories about what happened shortly thereafter.
I represent people who make mistakes everyday. Almost all of my clients are good people who make mistakes outside their normal behavior problems. I exclusively practice DUI and traffic law because I do not want to associate with those who intentionally go out and hurt people. My days of doing general criminal defense ended more than 10 years ago. I hope that Emily Bowman has a full and complete recovery. She is in my prayers.