Tragedy struck on August 23 as nearby Cobb County Police Officers found Corie Bethea, 44, struck dead by an unknown driver. After fatally striking Bethea shortly after 11 p.m., the driver fled the scene without stopping. Bethea was pronounced dead when he arrived at WellStar Kennestone Hospital.
Officer Sydney Melton, the spokeswoman for Cobb police, reported that the driver was driving a dark ram Pickup truck. The truck was heading north on Floyd Road toward White Boulevard. Reports indicate that Bethea walked in front of the truck and was fatally hit shortly after.
As a Fulton County DUI Attorney, I have worked with many clients who were accused of hit and run. A conviction of hit and run will demand harsher penalties than a DUI in Fulton County. In today's post, I'm going to detail what you need to know about hit and run law in Georgia.
What is considered to be a hit and run?
Georgia's hit and run statute, OCGA §40-6-270, explains that:
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident and shall:
- Give his or her name and address and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving
- Upon request and if it is available, exhibit his or her operator's license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with;
- Render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the transporting, or the making of arrangements for the transporting, of such 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
- 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. The driver shall in every event remain at the scene of the accident until fulfilling the requirements of this subsection. Every such stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
What penalties does a hit and run conviction carry?
As I stated before, the penalties associated with a hit and run conviction are quite serious. If the hit and run was the proximate cause of death or serious injury, the driver who fled the scene would be guilty of a felony. The penalty for a felony hit and run is one to five years in prison and at minimum a 4-month driver's license suspension. In some limited situations, the driver may qualify for a restricted license. However, if the driver was charged with a DUI concurrently with the hit and run, they will not be eligible for any kind of license.
As a Fulton County DUI Lawyer, I know that receiving a charge of hit and run is frightening. But receiving a charge does not have to mean that you will be convicted. If you have been charged with hit and run, call our office today to speak to one of our DUI defense attorneys.