Sometimes driving under the influence can be just one of many charges a driver can face if the driver commits other illegal actions while behind the wheel. For example, if a driver hits another vehicle, person, or piece of property and then flees, he or she be charged with a Hit and Run as well as a DUI. If a driver sees the police signaling for him or her to pull over and then keeps going, that driver could see a fleeing charge added on top of the drunk driving charge. What charges a driver ends up facing will depend on the facts and circumstances of his or her case. Drivers who commit multiple offenses can face greater penalties including fines and a longer jail sentence.
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence or any other related offenses in Georgia, please do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Richard Lawson today at (404) 816-4440.
Hit And Run in Atlanta, Georgia
In Georgia, leaving the scene of an accident is considered to be a crime. If a driver injures someone or damages property with his or her vehicle, that driver is required to stay at the scene. While a driver may want to leave the scene because he or she is intoxicated and doesn't want to get arrested for DUI, leaving - especially if there is an injury - will likely only make things worse in the long run.
According to Georgia law, "[t]he driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident." O.C.G.A 40-6-270(a). Drivers involved in an accident are required to give their contact information as well as render assistance to anyone has been injured and make sure that they receive any medical treatment that they need.
Leaving an accident scene can be considered either a misdemeanor a felony, depending on the circumstances:
- If a person leaves an accident scene where there is "an injury other than a serious injury," this is considered to be a misdemeanor offense. If an accident "resulted in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person," this is also a misdemeanor. O.G.C.A. 40-6-270(c)(1). The penalty for a first conviction of this offense can include a fine of between $300 and $1,000, up to 12 months in prison, or both a fine as well as time behind bars.
- If you hit a parked car and don't leave any contact information for the owner of the vehicle, you could also be charged with a misdemeanor. O.G.C.A. 40-6-271.
- If there is a death or a serious injury as a result of the accident and you leave the scene, then this can be considered a felony hit and run. This offense is much more serious and can result in a prison sentence of between one and five years if convicted. O.G.C.A. 40-6-270(b).
A driver who commits a hit and run can also face other consequences, such as having his or her license suspended. There are restricted licenses that a driver can apply for during the license suspension period so that they can get to places like work or school. However, a conviction for some offenses, such as Hit and Run with DUI can prevent a driver from getting any kind of temporary driving permit. Contact your Georgia DUI Attorney for more information.
There are other instances where a driver may also need to take some actions in order to avoid criminal charges. One such instance is if a driver is involved in an accident with a fixture, such as a pole. In that case, the driver is required to "take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of his name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle he is driving and shall, upon request and if available, exhibit his operator's license." O.G.C.A. 40-6-272.
In addition, a driver may be required to report an accident to law enforcement if certain things occurred. In Georgia, a driver is obligated to report if there was "injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500.00 or more." O.G.C.A. 40-6-273.
Fleeing The Police in Atlanta, Georgia
Most people have seen a police chase on the news at one point in their lives. While watching the driver race through the streets, you may have wondered what was compelling this person to keep going and attempt to thwart law enforcement. The answers to this question vary. Some individuals are trying to avoid being arrested for a crime, such as DUI. However, others may have kept going by mistake because they did not see or hear the police car behind them.
In Georgia, it is against the law "for any driver of a vehicle willfully to fail or refuse to bring his or her vehicle to a stop or otherwise to flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle or police officer when given a visual or an audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren." O.C.G.A. 40-6-395(a).
One thing to be aware of is that a driver is only required for a law enforcement officer. Georgia law states that when an officer is trying to stop a person, the officer "shall be in uniform prominently displaying his or her badge of office, and his or her vehicle shall be appropriately marked showing it to be an official police vehicle." O.C.G.A. 40-6-395(a).
It is a serious criminal offense to flee or attempt to flee from law enforcement. A conviction for this offense can result in harsh penalties, including:
- A first fleeing offense is a high and aggravated misdemeanor which is a more serious charge than a regular misdemeanor. If convicted, the penalty can include a fine of between $500 and $5,000, and a prison sentence ranging from 10 days to 12 months.
- A driver can also be charged with a felony for fleeing if he or she does any of the following while running from police:
- drives over "20 miles an hour above the posted speed limit"
- hits a pedestrian or another vehicle
- "[f]lees in traffic conditions which place the general public at risk of receiving serious injuries" (e.g., rush hour traffic)
- drives his or her vehicle out of the state
- has a BAC of .08 or higher
A conviction for the felony offense can result in a $5,000 fine and a prison sentence of between one and five years. O.G.C.A. 40-6-395(b)(5)(A).
In addition, a person convicted of this offense can have his or her license suspended.
Contact a Georgia DUI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with a driving under the influence, a hit and run, fleeing police, or any related offense, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Richard Lawson. It is important to take any criminal charge seriously as a conviction can have a serious impact on your life. Georgia DUI Attorney, Richard Lawson has been working as a criminal defense attorney in Georgia for over two decades and his practice is devoted exclusively to defending those accused of driving under the influence as well as other related crimes. Let his experience, dedication, and knowledge work for you. Call his office today at (404) 816-4440 or contact us online.