ShouldI get a lawyer ifI have been charged with hit and run?

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ShouldI get a lawyer ifI have been charged with hit and run?

I was involved in a car accident in which I was hit by a drunk driver. I lived down the street so I went to get my inhaler because I was having an asthma attack. I then called the police to report the accident but when they arrived I was arrested for hit and run. The accident was totally the drunk man’s fault. Should I get a criminal law attorney to help or just plead my case? In Decatur, GA.

Asked on October 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

YES.  Anytime criminal charges are involved it is always advisable to have legal representation.  A skilled crimial defense attorney can possibly arrange to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced; especially based on the facts that you presented.

You didn't indicate whether or not your are a "first-time offender". If you are, and you are be convicted, you may be eligible for something known as "deferred adjudication" or "diversion" (or GA's equivalent).  In such a case, you plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon its successful completion the charge is withdrawn and the case dismissed.  If you stay out of any other trouble your arrest record "expunged" (ie cleared).  Typically this happens automatically in such a situation. Again, avail yourself of your employee legal consultation.  An attorney in your area can more fully advise you as to all of this.

Note:  Diversion is typically only allowed 1 time, so if your attorney can get the charge dropped, and if you unfortunately ever find yourself in a similar situation, diversion would be available to you then.

Rob MacKenna / The MacKenna Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Given the facts as you present them, you should definitely get legal representation.  While it does seem like you left the scene, there is probably a defense available to you given your medical problem. Assuming you were cited for violation of OCGA 40-6-270, you are looking at a minimum fine of $300 (+costs) and the possibility of imprisonment for up to a year.  With competent representation, it is extremely unlikely that you would go to jail.

Furthermore, depending on the circumstances, conviction on the hit-and-run charge could be used as evidence against you if the other driver decides to file a civil suit against you claiming that he was injured in the crash.  Frankly, from the facts you've given, it sounds like you'd have the better case to file against him, assuming that you were injured.  You should be able to get the other driver's insurance to pay for the damages to your vehicle if he was indeed at fault.

Feel free to contact me if you have more questions.  I am located in Decatur, directly across from the courthouse.  404-496-4493.


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