What Are the Consequences of a DUI With Hit and Run?
Being charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) carries serious consequences. However, the situation becomes even more serious when combined with a hit and run. In this brief article, DUI attorneys in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan discuss the possible penalties of DUI with hit and run and what you should do if you are being charged with a hit and run, DUI, or both.
Why Can Drivers Expect More Police Activity During the Super Bowl?
As mentioned earlier, the Super Bowl is a time for celebration. The last time the city of Tampa hosted a Super Bowl, over 300 private events happened in addition to the game itself. These celebrations often involve alcohol, especially for the city hosting the event and for the cities that have teams in the game. For this reason, police activity is often ramped up.
Another reason you can expect higher levels of police activity during the Super Bowl is because of the effort to curb other crimes, like illegal gambling, drug possession and trafficking, human trafficking, and theft — all of which may pose a higher risk during the event. As a result, drivers can expect checkpoints and tighter security during this time, including cameras, police in cars and on foot, and other methods of surveillance.
What Qualifies as a Hit and Run?
Even without the element of a DUI, a hit and run is very serious. In the State of Florida, the definition of a “hit-and-run,” also referred to as “leaving the scene of an accident,” is defined as a driver failing to remain at the site of a vehicle crash and failing to fulfill statutory duties when the accident involves property damage, bodily injury or death.
Florida law states that the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash that results in injury to a person other than serious bodily injury is responsible for immediately stopping the vehicle at the scene of the crash and remaining at the scene until he or she has fulfilled the necessary requirements. Under Florida Statute 316.062, these responsibilities include providing his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and making a report to law enforcement. A person who willfully and knowingly violates any of the requirements laid out in this standard commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in Florida Statute 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084. In other words, failing to stay at the scene can make what would have possibly been a more simple resolution into a much more complicated issue.
How Can a DUI Be Proven If the Driver Flees?
Leaving the scene of an accident without a DUI involved can result in a fine that ranges from $500 to as much as $10,000 (depending on injuries or fatalities). Jail sentencing for a standard hit and run may range from 60 days up to as much as 30 years for a fatal crash. If alcohol or drugs are involved in a hit and run, a DUI charge may be added on, which is accompanied by separate penalties. If convicted, punishment for a DUI conviction can include fines from $500 up to $5000 and 6 months or longer in jail. Further penalties can include suspension or revocation of your license, the loss of the use of your vehicle, mandatory attendance of a substance abuse program, installation of an ignition lock-out device on your vehicle, and mandatory community service. Often, if the driver remains at the scene, the judge may be more lenient, but hit and run with DUI may cause the judge to “throw the book” at you.
Many drivers who are convicted of a hit and run while driving under the influence did so because they thought they would be in more trouble if they stayed at the scene and were charged with a DUI. However, that is not necessarily the case. How can it be proven that someone was under the influence if the driver flees? The police must only prove that:
- The defendant drove a vehicle;
- When driving, the defendant was under the influence of (an alcoholic beverage/ [or] a drug) [or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug];
- While driving under the influence, the defendant also (committed an illegal act/ [or] neglected to perform a legal duty);
- The defendant’s (illegal act/ [or] failure to perform a legal duty) caused bodily injury to another person. (If there is an injury).
What Should You Do in a Collision While Intoxicated?
If you are driving while intoxicated, you should never leave the scene of an accident or collision. Whether or not you have fled the scene, it’s important to hire the best DUI attorney in Clearwater to handle your case. Your attorney will help you find the best defense, including proving that you were not intoxicated while driving or that you did not intend to flee. Depending on the circumstances, you may face criminal charges, fines, and jail time, so it’s critical to contact legal counsel immediately.
For a free consultation with one of the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.
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