Is Hit and Run Worse Than a DUI?
Driving under the influence can carry significant criminal penalties in New York. For some, those penalties can have a life-altering impact. Drivers with a history of DUI convictions could be facing felony charges and a year behind bars in state prison. With so much at stake, it is not uncommon for an intoxicated driver to risk leaving the scene of an accident rather than stick around and face arrest for DUI.
Unfortunately for those drivers, leaving the scene of an accident could also result in hit and run charges. If caught, that driver could be facing dual charges of DUI as well as hit and run. Together, these charges result in far more significant penalties. So why do drivers run? The fear of arrest and the potential of escaping the scene without being detected pushes those drivers to take the risk. That does not mean it is a good idea, however.
When a drunk driver flees the scene after an accident, it is not just a problem for the police. This action also leaves innocent drivers injured in the crash on the hook for their medical bills. Thankfully, the New York City personal injury lawyers at Douglas & London stand ready to help the victims of a hit and run drunk driver seeking compensation for their injuries.
Understanding how drunk drivers weigh DUI charges and hit and run charges starts with considering the potential penalties of each crime.
New York DUI Penalties
Like every other state, New York penalizes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These penalties vary, primarily depending on the number of previous DUI convictions a person might have. Even a first-time offense for DUI can bring significant penalties. This charge results in a fine between $500 and $1,000, a six-month license revocation, and a maximum of one year in jail. However, a first offense rarely results in additional jail time.
Second or third offenses are treated as felonies and carry must steeper penalties. According to state law, a second offense will result in between five days and four years behind bars. A third or subsequent offense can lead to seven years in prison.
New York Hit and Run Penalties
Leaving the scene of an accident is often against the law. State law requires drivers to remain at the scene of a crash following any accident that results in bodily injury or property damage of more than $1,000. Even in cases that do not meet these criteria, drivers are required to provide each other with their name and insurance information.
Leaving the scene of an injury accident without making contact with the other driver could lead to hit and run charges. In this situation, the person leaving the scene could face a class E felony. This charge carries a maximum fine of $5,000 in addition to other attached penalties. These penalties go up if the person struck by a drunken driver was severely injured or dies from their wounds.
How They Compare
When a drunk driver flees the scene of a crash and is caught, the penalties they face will increase dramatically. In addition to potential DUI charges, they could also face criminal charges for fleeing as well as any charges related to the accident itself. In the end, the potential penalties for hit and run are much greater because they carry the risk of adding steep penalties on top of a DUI conviction.
How a Car Accident Attorney Could Help
If you have suffered an injury in a hit and run collision with a suspected drunken driver, you might be able to hold that person accountable for the crash. This is the case even if you were unable to identify the driver before they left the scene. At Douglas & London, a skilled personal injury lawyer will thoroughly investigate your crash in an effort to identify the responsible party. Often, law enforcement will arrest that driver after your crash without connecting them to our accident. By reviewing arrest records and police reports, our team could work with you to identify the person that caused your injuries. You have options for pursuing compensation after a hit and run accident. To get started, contact the New York City car accident lawyers with Douglas & London right away.