Hit and Run in Atlanta, Georgia

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A charge of hit and run commonly occurs alongside a Georgia DUI charge. When a person hits a person, vehicle, or other object and leaves the scene of an accident, that person commits a crime in Georgia. These are serious traffic offenses that can have very harsh penalties, sometimes even harsher than the DUI itself.

If you or someone you care about faces charges of hit and run, with the help of an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney you can set forth a defense that can protect you from criminal charges and protect your legal rights.

Hit and Run in Georgia 

Most cases are a violation of Georgia's specific Hit and Run law, found in O.C.G.A. 40-6-270. This is the most serious version of the criminal charge. It can result in very significant penalties if you are convicted.

Under the law, if you are driving your vehicle and are involved in some type of collision, you are legally required to stop or immediately return to the scene of the collision. You are required to stop if:

  • you caused any injury to any person as a result of the collision,
  • you caused the death of any person as a result of the collision, and/or
  • you caused damage to any other vehicles as a result of the collision.

Once you are stopped or have immediately returned, you are then required to do all of the following.

  • Give your name and address.
  • Provide the registration number of the vehicle you were driving.
  • Upon request, provide your driver's license to the person struck or driver of the vehicle struck.
  • Render reasonable assistance to any person injured by the collision.
  • Ensure that medical assistance arrives for any person who appears unconscious, deceased, or otherwise unable to communicate.

Penalties for Hit and Run in Georgia

If a person leaves the scene of an accident and caused non-serious injury to another person or caused damage to an occupied vehicle, that person is guilty of a misdemeanor version of the charge. If convicted of the misdemeanor version, the person faces the following possible penalties:

  • possible fine of $300 to $1,000
  • imprisonment for up to 12 months

If convicted of a second offense of the same type within a five year period, the penalties increase to:

  • possible fine of $600 to $1,000
  • imprisonment for up to 12 months

If convicted of a third or subsequent offense within a five year period, the penalties increase to:

  • a fine of $1,000
  • imprisonment for up to 12 months

If the accident caused the death or serious injury of another person, failing to stop at the scene of the accident is now a felony. A person charged with a felony-level offense of hit and run may be sentenced to:

  • imprisonment for not less than 1 year
  • maximum possible imprisonment of up to 5 years

Duty Upon Striking an Unattended Vehicle

Another form of hit and run in Georgia occurs when a person leaves the scene of an accident after striking a vehicle that was unattended at the time of the accident. This is written in O.C.G.A. 40-6-271. Unattended means no person was occupying the vehicle or was within its immediate proximity.

If a driver strikes an unattended vehicle, he or she has the duty to:

  • immediately stop or immediately return to the scene of the collision,
  • either locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle or find that person's name and address, or
  • leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle a written notice giving the name and address of the driver so the owner can contact him or her.

Penalties for Striking an Unattended Vehicle

If convicted of this form of hit and run, you are guilty of a misdemeanor. The following are the possible penalties for the offense:

  • maximum imprisonment of 12 months in jail
  • a maximum possible fine of $1,000

Duty to Report Accident

The last form of hit and run in Georgia is found in O.C.G.A. 40-6-273, and is titled "Duty to report accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage."

It requires any driver who has caused injury or death to a person, or property damage to an apparent extent of $500 or more to immediately, and by the quickest means of communication to do the following.

  • Give notice of the accident to the local police department in the area if the accident occurs within a municipality.
  • If the accident occurs outside of the municipality, notice is required to be given to the county sheriff or nearest office of the Georgia State Patrol.

This statute especially takes effect in the situation where the property struck is not a vehicle.

Example: Ross is driving along Main Street, and runs into a fire hydrant, completely knocking it over and causing flooding in the street. He drives away and fails to report the damage to law enforcement. He could be charged under this form of hit and run.

Penalties for Failing to Report an Accident

A citation under this section can result in three points being added to your license. Depending on the nature of your driving history, this could cause a suspension of your driver's license.

Defending Your Case with the Help of an Experienced Lawyer

An experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer can defend your hit and run case no matter the type you face. With over 20 years of experience defending similar cases, your attorney can create a uniquely tailored defense to suit your legal needs. Possible defenses include, but are not limited to the following.

  • You immediately returned to the area (or were prevented from doing so for some reason outside of your control).
  • You did not leave the scene of the accident.
  • The injury caused was not serious.
  • The vehicle was unattended.
  • You substantially complied with most of the statute's requirements.

Consult an Experienced Atlanta Hit and Run Attorney

A hit and run charge can take away your right to drive, your money, and your freedom. Do not assume you are guilty just because you are charged with a crime.

With the help of an experienced Atlanta hit and run attorney, you can defend your case and protect your constitutional rights. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

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