If you're involved in a Georgia car accident and are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences can be harsh. This is true even if there were no significant bodily injuries or property damage. However, it is always best to stay at the scene and take responsibilities for your actions. The penalties will be significantly more severe if you decide to flee the scene of an accident. The state of Georgia will aggressively investigate and prosecute DUI hit and run accidents.
What is a Hit and Run?
A hit and run accident occurs when you (1) are involved in a car accident and (2) leave the scene before fulfilling your legal obligations. Georgia law imposes certain duties on all drivers who are involved in an accident. Pursuant to O.C.G.A 40-6-270, all drivers involved in a vehicular accident must:
- Exchange personal information with other involved parties (e.g., 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.
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. Under Georgia law, anyone involved in an accident assumes these legal responsibilities.
What If I Hit a Parked Car?
Your obligation to report an accident exists regardless of whether another person was involved and/or injured in the crash. You must report all accidents, even those involving unoccupied parked vehicles. This means that if you lose control of your car and crash into or even graze another vehicle, you must notify the other car owner.
You can satisfy your obligation to report the accident by:
- Finding the car owner and reporting the crash in person, or
- Leaving a note with your contact information in a conspicuous place on the vehicle.
What are the Consequences of a Hit and Run?
In Georgia, a hit and run accident involving personal injury or property damage to an occupied vehicle is a felony offense. Penalties for a felony hit and run conviction include:
- A minimum of 1 year in prison
- A maximum of 5 years in prison
- Criminal fines
- Probation, and
- Driver's license suspension.
Hit and run accidents not involving personal injury or occupied vehicles may be charged as misdemeanors. 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 at the time of the hit and run accident.
Get Help Fighting DUI-Related Charges in Georgia
Did you prematurely leave the scene of an accident because you were afraid you would be arrested for DUI? Do police suspect that you may have been involved in the crash? The best way to protect your future is by contacting an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney for help. Contact us today at 404-816-4440 to set up a free consultation and learn about your legal rights and obligations.