In general, there is no one-size fits-all punishment for a hit and run DUI. “Hit-and-run” laws, also known as “stop-and-give-aid” laws, require drivers who are involved in collisions to: stop, provide identification, and give any needed assistance. The purpose of these laws is to ensure that those who are injured in car collisions receive needed medical attention for injuries, and appropriate financial compensation for property damage. Even when drivers are not at fault for the accident, those who fail to perform any of these acts can be criminally prosecuted.
The primary factor affecting your potential punishment is whether anyone was injured in the incident. Penalties are much more severe for persons who cause an injury and then flee the scene. For example, a California man received a 11 year prison term for a DUI hit and run that left a woman dead. Not only is your insurance likely to be revoked if you flee the scene, but it may be voided for this particular incident – that is you will have no insurance coverage because leaving the scene violated the rules of your insurance policy. Expect your license to automatically (and often permanently) revoked.
In addition, those who aid and abet a hit and run, for example, by using a power washer to clean off the blood and glass, can also be charged with the crime of evidence tampering. If there are no injuries, the penalties tend to decrease and in some states the charges may drop from felony to misdemeanor category. That’s because these cases tend to accumulate multiple charges.
In addition to the two primary offenses – DUI and hit-and-run – the driver may be charged with reckless driving, bodily injury, and vehicular homicide. In addition, punishment will likely be enhanced if there are “priors” – previous DUI convictions within the state’s look-back period. Because a DUI hit-and-run combination is serious and sometimes difficult to assess, you should contact a criminal defense attorney for advice and assistance. The more time you give your attorney, the more time you allow him or her to prepare your solid defense.
The job of a DUI defense attorney is to uncover any facts that may allow for an acquittal or dismissal of the entire case. For example, if the police did not read you your Miranda rights or there was a lack of probable cause, your attorney may be able to have some (or all) of the evidence thrown out of court. Other defenses may include illegal search and seizure or improperly conducting a BAC or field sobriety test. Contact Attorney Ray Dinari for FREE case evaluation (714) 878-0448.