You've just received a phone call or even a letter commanding you to call an investigator back for a hit and run investigation. You may not even remember what they are talking about, but you definitely know you would never willingly commit a "hit and run." But, what do you do next?
Hit and run charges and leaving the scene in Georgia are some of the most overcharged, but serious traffic offenses out there. But, if you've been arrested or had an investigator calling to ask you about an alleged hit and run, do not panic- our attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of these cases. Often times, we are able to build your case and negotiate lesser charges to avoid a hit and run conviction. The following information will help you further understand these charges and how we defend them.
What is Georgia's hit and run law?
Under hit and run laws in Georgia, you must stay at the scene of an accident whenever property damage or bodily injury have occurred as a result of an accident. Specifically, the law says you must:
(1) Give your name and address and the registration number of the vehicle;
(2) Upon request and if it is available, exhibit your driver's license to the person struck or the other party;
(3) Render reasonable assistance, including the transporting, or the making of arrangements for the transporting, of any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such transporting is requested by the injured person; and
(4) Where a person injured in such accident is unconscious, appears deceased, or is otherwise unable to communicate, make every reasonable effort to ensure that emergency medical services and local law enforcement are contacted for the purpose of reporting the accident and making a request for assistance.
Alternatives to hit and run charges
We have seen just about every combination of hit and run scenarios out there, including people who have simply driven away from the accident scene to the nearest parking lot or safest location before stopping, people who have stopped but driven off when confronted by an angry driver, and people who simply did not even know they had made contact with or struck another vehicle. In fact, often, the at fault driver seems to be the other driver, but you can be arrested for hit and run even in this case, assuming you do not stop. While cops technically could issue tickets for lesser offenses, including "failure to report an accident," they rarely do, often times making a case of the more serious hit and run charge. This is unfortunate, as it can tie up a perfectly law abiding citizen in the legal system for months.
When we defend against hit and run, our goal is to have the charges reduced to a lesser offense at the very least. This means while you may end up paying a fine or jumping through a few hoops, you will not have your license suspended or be convicted of a serious traffic offense. Further, if you were arrested on the charge, a lesser offense means your record will be updated to reflect the new offense. Under certain circumstances we maybe able to broker for a negotiated dismissal of the hit and run.
Should I call back the investigator about my hit and run case?
Chances are, if you have been involved in a "hit and run" and someone was able to take down your plate, you will get a call- though sometimes a week or more later- from a hit and run detective looking for information about the accident you were allegedly involved in. We have represented many clients at this stage, acting on their behalf and communicating with law enforcement to negotiate the best possible resolution to their investigation. While we use our judgment and experience on whether or not to speak to, and how much information to divulge to law enforcement, the blanket rule--especially if you do not have an attorney--- is to NOT speak to them regarding any accident or involvement they think you had in the situation. These conversations are almost always recorded and can later be used against you in court. It is tempting to believe that full cooperation will somehow make the situation and the cop go away, but it won't.
Do not call the detective back about the case; call us.
Can my record be expunged?
In Georgia, your arrest record usually last forever, though the final outcome of your case will be updated once any case is complete. While expungement can sometimes be negotiated, at the very least, you want your record to show the outcome as being a lesser offense than hit and run. Remember, hit and run charges would stay on your criminal record forever and result in your driver's license being suspended. If we can avoid a hit and run conviction, your driving record will never make any reference to the original charge. Driving records only show final outcomes from court.
Our Attorneys Defend Hit and Run
Both of our attorneys, Evan Watson and Peter Zeliff have defended into the thousands of traffic cases, many of which have involved alleged hit and run or leaving the scene incidents. Our attorneys have represented teens, adults, non-citizens, commercial drivers, and about everyone in between. If you have an investigator calling you to discuss a hit and run, or you have been involved in an accident that you feel may result in hit and run or leaving the scene charges being filed, call us today at (770) 676-1340, or through the contact form on our website.