Drunk driving is a significant danger for motorists and pedestrians. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it is a factor in 30 percent of all fatal car crashes.
The CDC also states that 10 percent of auto crashes are hit-and-runs, and damages caused by DUI hit-and run-accidents can be devastating. Leaving the scene after an accident, especially for those who are intoxicated, also increases the risk of stricter punishments by law.
What are the Types of DUI Hit-and-Run Accidents?
DUI hit-and-runs can be minor or severe, depending on the circumstances. In some cases, a driver will have had a couple of drinks before heading out and then hit a parked car. Fearing the consequences of DUI/DWI charges, they may leave the scene. Drivers with higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels often flee accidents because of this.
No matter who is liable for an accident, and no matter how intoxicated they are, all those involved are legally bound to remain at the scene. It is essential to assist anyone who is injured, provide a driver’s license and contact information, and to notify law enforcement.
What are the Penalties for a DUI Hit-and-Run?
Not all DUI hit-and-run cases get solved, but the majority of those result in more severe retributions. Even though it is tempting to drive away and possibly avoid the consequences, taking responsibility right away usually results in less severe punishments.
Every state classifies first-time DUI offenses as misdemeanors punishable by up to six months of jailtime. Courts also impose fines that can range from $500 to $2,000. Other regulations are in place for higher BAC levels, and longer jail sentences and higher fines are handed with subsequent offenses. If a victim was injured or killed in the DUI accident, it will be classified as a felony.
What are the Laws in New Jersey?
Leaving an accident scene in New Jersey can be prosecuted as a traffic violation and as a criminal act. If there are injuries and fatalities, the liable driver could be charged with both. Even if the victims are not fatally injured, the charges can end up permanently affecting the at-fault driver’s entire life.
In New Jersey, charges for a DUI hit-and-run can include the following:
- Failing to stop or render aid
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Aggravated assault by auto
- Reckless driving
The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident in New Jersey can incur fines from $200 to $600, 30 days in jail, two points on a person’s drivers’ license, license suspension, and insurance surcharges. For DUI hit-and-run drivers, there are many more consequences, such as the following:
- Fines: Leaving an accident scene that caused injury or death leads to a traffic violation fine or $2,500 to $5,000, plus a criminal offense fine of up to $15,000.
- Points: DUI hit-and-run drivers are assigned eight points on their licenses when victims are hurt or killed.
- Surcharges: Those points lead to insurance policy surcharges of $600 at the minimum.
- License Suspension: Leaving an accident scene where there are injuries or fatalities incurs a one-year license suspension.
- Incarceration: The traffic violation charge for DUI hit and runs comes with a sentence of up to 180 days, and the criminal charge adds on three to five years in prison.
What Should I Do if I Get Charges After a DUI Hit-and-Run?
If a person is facing charges after a DUI hit-and-run, it is important to seek legal representation. There are ways to fight these charges and receive lesser penalties. When possible, a lawyer should be contacted right away.
Haddonfield DUI Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Clients Accused of DUI Hit-and-Runs
Leaving the scene of an accident while drunk incurs serious charges, but there are ways to fight them. Our Haddonfield DUI lawyers at Agre & St. John help those facing serious charges. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-428-7797. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.