In every state, it’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident. A hit and run refers to striking another vehicle or person with your car and then driving away. If you are involved in a collision that results in injury or death to any person, or damage to another vehicle, Georgia law requires you to immediately stop at or near the scene of the accident. Failure to stop at the scene of the accident can lead to a hit and run charge, which is a very serious traffic offense that can have harsher penalties than a DUI.
Responsibilities After a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident with another person that causes damage to their vehicle, or personal injury, you have a duty to stop as quickly as possible. You are also required to:
- Give your name, contact information, and registration information to the other party,
- If requested, show the other party your driver’s license,
- Render reasonable assistance to any injured persons, including the transporting, or making arrangements for the transporting, of any injured person to a hospital for medical treatment, and
- Contacting law enforcement and emergency medical services if the injured person is unconscious, appears deceased, or is otherwise unable to communicate.
Potential Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Depending on the severity of the injuries to those involved, a hit and run crime can be either a misdemeanor or felony crime in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) will suspend your driver’s license for a minimum period of 120 days if you are convicted to a hit and run charge. A Georgia Hit and Run conviction could also have far reaching implications such as loss of insurance coverage, increased premiums, or loss of employment.
Misdemeanor: If a person fails to stop at the scene of an accident that causes a non-serious injury to another, they can be convicted of a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine, 12 months in jail, and a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for a minimum period of 4 months.
Felony: If a person fails to stop at the scene of an accident that causes death, the driver can be convicted of a felony charge of first-degree homicide by vehicle, and face one to five years in prison.
Options for Defense
Georgia has similar laws to “hit and run” that outline a driver’s duty to stop when an unattended vehicle, fixture, or property has been collided with and damaged. Often times, cases initially charged as hit and run cases have defenses available that will save your driver’s license, as well as spare your criminal record from reporting a hit and run conviction.
Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested, or have been contacted by a law enforcement officer investigating you for hit and run, contact a criminal defense attorney before speaking to anyone. It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to fight for and protect your rights.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation in Suwanee, Johns Creek, Cumming, Forsyth County, Gwinnett County, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, or Dawson County, please call our office today at (678) 257-4507. You may also schedule a consultation online.