Fleeing the Scene After a Drunk Driving Accident
June 3rd, 2022
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime. So is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). If you leave the scene of an accident to avoid a DWI, you will likely be charged with two crimes: one for the DWI and a second for hit-and-run. Both crimes carry serious penalties. When charged together, you face significant punishments. To minimize the impact of a criminal charge and increase the likelihood of a successful result, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the alleged offense, explain the possible penalties and your options, and provide you with a vigorous defense.
Hit and Run
Leaving the scene of an accident, commonly referred to as a “hit-and-run” crime, is a serious offense even when drugs or alcohol are not involved.
Under North Carolina law, drivers involved in an accident have a legal duty to remain at the scene until the police arrive.
North Carolina identifies different criminal offenses and prescribes different penalties depending on the specific nature of the hit and run crime. Violations range from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class F felony.
Driving While Under the Influence (DWI)
DWI is also a serious crime. In most cases, a DWI charge is a misdemeanor. However, the penalties can be severe, especially if the driver caused an accident and someone was injured.
DWI and Fleeing the Scene
Anytime a driver is involved in a crash and causes property damage or personal injury, they have certain legal obligations and must stay at the scene of the accident until law enforcement agents tell them they can leave.
Someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may leave the scene of the accident to avoid the consequences of being at fault for the collision. They may not have car insurance or fear an increase in their insurance rates. Other times they want to avoid the possibility of being arrested for DWI or did not notice that the accident occurred.
Leaving the scene of an accident to avoid a DWI charge can result in serious criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the collision and whether anyone was injured, the hit-and-run could be charged as a felony. In addition, the fact that a driver was involved in a hit-and-run could be considered a Grossly Aggravating Factor when considering punishment for the DUI charge.
Defenses to DWI and Hit and Run
If you were involved in an accident and left the scene, the police will be trying to identify you and arrest you. It is critical that you contact a lawyer who has experience handling North Carolina DWI charges and hit-and-run cases. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in the success of your defense.
Just because you have been charged with a DWI and hit-and-run does not mean you will be convicted of either crime. You have the right to a legal defense, and North Carolina criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe can help.
Ryan will meticulously review the facts and circumstances of your case to identify any potential defenses. When it comes to DWI charges and investigations, he has completed the same training as law enforcement officers and has earned certificates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in both "DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing" and "Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). He also has completed the SFST Instructor course which allows him to teach police officers field sobriety tests. In fact, it is possible that Ryan has received more training in DWI detection than the officer who arrested you.
Ryan will also explore defenses to the hit-and-run charge. Every case is unique, and his defense strategy will depend on the circumstances of your case.
In cases involving a minor accident, you may be able to argue that you did know an accident occurred or that it caused injury or damage.
You might also be able to claim that you temporarily left the scene to get help, or that you were falsely accused or mistakenly identified.
Finally, you may be able to argue that the police failed to follow the proper procedures or violated your rights.
As with any criminal case, the prosecutor must prove every element of each charge beyond a reasonable doubt to find you guilty.
The Stowe Law Firm: Serious Representation for Serious Criminal Charges.
The outcome of your criminal case will depend on the quality and caliber of your legal representation. North Carolina criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe has earned a reputation for the passionate defense of his clients and his deep expertise in the field of criminal defense.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact the Stowe Law Firm today.
Based in Salisbury, North Carolina the Stowe Law Firm proudly represents people who have been accused of crimes throughout Rowan County, Cabarrus County, Mecklenburg County, and the surrounding areas.