It’s common to be terrified and confused after a vehicle accident, whether you were the victim or the at-fault driver. Anyone’s reaction to an event might be negatively affected by the flood of emotions, especially dread. Just as well, head injuries incurred by the accident could disorient a driver, leading them to leave the scene.
No matter how you may be feeling, staying at the crash scene is a good idea. It would be preferable to stay put because leaving the site of an accident is a serious violation in Georgia and carries harsh penalties. In Georgia specifically, it is common to see people leave the scene of an automobile accident.
In this guide, we’ll break down the penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in Georgia. If you are being accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Georgia, get in touch with criminal defense attorneys who are familiar and experienced with this type of law.
What are the Penalties for Leaving the Scene of an Accident in Georgia?
Defining “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” and “Hit and Run”
The phrase “hit and run,” sometimes known as “leaving the scene of the accident,” refers particularly to hitting an inhabited car before driving away. Similar charges include fleeing the scene of an accident, neglecting to report an accident, and hitting a fixed object. These are extremely significant driving violations that may result in punishments even worse than a DUI.
For instance, a DUI driver with no past convictions can frequently obtain a restricted license for use at work and school. In the instance of a hit and run, there is frequently no restricted driving permit. Furthermore, hit-and-run is a particular purpose felony. You’ve made the decision to go from the site of the accident. As a result, in Georgia, hit-and-runs and fleeing the scene of an accident are more severe offenses than DUI.
What Penalties Can One Face by Leaving the Scene of an Accident?
A driver’s license will be suspended for at least four months if they are found guilty of hit-and-run. Depending on your driving history, you can be eligible for a restricted license in certain situations. In addition to the hit and run, you may also be subject to a “hard suspension” of your license if you have a criminal history or if you are found guilty of a crime that entails a separate suspension. You won’t have any sort of license or permission if your license is hard suspended. If you are found guilty of a hit and run, your insurance might suffer greatly.
The consequences might be even more severe if you or a loved one is found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident in Georgia. The Georgia Code 40-6-270 makes it quite clear that leaving the scene of an accident is a severe crime and that your future may be at risk if you are found guilty. According to this Code, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident that results in a person’s injury or death, or in damage to a vehicle that is being driven or attended by a person, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, or shall stop as close to it as is reasonably possible, and forthwith return to the scene of the accident.
What one should do in the event of a road collision is rather evident from this definition. The Code continues by outlining precisely what you must do after being stopped. Give the person or motorist who hit you your name, address, and car registration number, as well as your driver’s license. When asked, assist anyone hurt in the collision by making arrangements for or providing transportation to medical attention. Until all of these tasks are finished, remain at the accident scene.
Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Could Potentially Lead to a Felony
The Code continues by outlining how fleeing a situation can easily escalate to a crime. If there are major injuries or fatalities as a result of the accident and you violate the aforementioned guidelines, you risk being found guilty of a crime and facing a variety of penalties.
In Georgia, leaving the scene of an accident can result in a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in jail. The Code imposes fines that can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000. There is no possibility of probation, a stay, or suspension for these fines.
If convicted again in five years, there is a $1,000 fine and a one-year prison term.
Last but not least, if you are found guilty of a hit and run, which is merely hitting another car and driving away, you might lose all of your driving rights and have no possibility of getting a limited permit.
Common Defenses for Leavin the Scene of an Accident
Unfortunately, when someone escapes the scene of an accident, law enforcement frequently thinks that they were intoxicated at the time. That is untrue. The majority of the time, a person flees the scene either because they were unaware that a person or object had been hit or because they are just scared. Even so, when a person flees the scene, police authorities may attempt to file further DUI charges, which escalates the fines and prosecutions that person may be subject to.
Being accused of evading police after an accident may be terrifying and depressing. Not at all. There are several possible responses to these accusations, such as not being the driver of the car that sped away, ignorance of any injuries or property damage, or going for assistance.
It might be challenging to refute the claim that you left the site of the accident to find assistance. But there are occasions when it is helpful. For instance, you would leave the scene of the accident to call for assistance if you were in a rural road accident without a phone and the other party was critically hurt. This can serve as a defense if you can back it up with convincing proof.
Georgia law imposes penalties on motorists who flee the scene of an accident. In Georgia, hit-and-runs are serious violations. State law takes leaving the scene of an accident more harshly than a DUI. You may be charged with a crime if you purposefully flee the scene of an accident that results in death or serious injury.
If the DA accuses you of a crime after you leave the scene of an accident, you might want to be aware of your legal options. It might not be simple to defend oneself against this accusation. But that is conceivable.
If you weren’t driving the automobile that left, or if you were unaware that anybody was hurt or property was harmed, the law offers defenses for this violation. Finally, if you proceeded to seek assistance after leaving the accident scene, you could avoid penalties.
The majority of instances begin with a breach of the particular Hit and Run Law. The charge that results in a six-month license suspension is the most serious one. The circumstances of your situation, however, could be closer to the second, less strict interpretation of the law. Your attorney’s job frequently includes attempting to relate the circumstances of your case to various interpretations of the Hit and Run Laws. Your lawyer will be able to keep you out of jail and maintain your driver’s license that way. The most crucial aspect of your case is your lawyer’s argument.
Hire Criminal Defense Attorneys With Experience in Hit and Run Accidents in Georgia
Being in a car accident in Georgia may be a tense, anxious, and emotional experience. Whether or not you contributed to the disaster, it can be difficult to manage the adrenaline surging through your body and your natural fight-or-flight response. Georgia drivers must stay on the scene until their legal obligations have been satisfied, regardless of the accident’s specifics.
In Georgia, failing to do so is considered abandoning the scene of an accident, commonly referred to as failing to stop or hit-and-run. Expert criminal defense attorneys are essential if you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, since it is a serious offense. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines are there to help. Call (770) 766-4188 to schedule an appointment.
How was our guide to the penalties one can receive for leaving the scene of an accident in Georgia? Don’t forget to give the criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines a call as soon as possible if you’ve been accused of fleeing the scene of an accident.