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Charged with DUI and Leaving the Scene?

Lexington DUI Attorney

Many times police charge someone with more than just a DUI. A common companion charge is leaving the scene (hit and run).

Most of the time police believe that someone will leave the scene of an accident for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They are driving impaired (DUI)
  • They are driving on a suspended license
  • They don’t have car insurance
  • They have outstanding warrantsT
  • hey have drugs\illegal items in the vehicle
  • They are trying to flee from responsibility

A leaving the scene charge can result from an allegation of either driving away (such as from a relatively minor accident), or leaving on foot or in another vehicle. Although not legally required, most of the time it is expected that the defendant will have a motive for doing so. In addition to the bad reasons that law enforcement might suspect, here are some other circumstances we’ve seen.

  • A driver does stop, offer to exchange insurance information, but is told by the other driver not to worry about it
  • A driver believed that they struck a deer or another object, not a person or another vehicle
  • No actual collision or contact between vehicles occurred
  • A mental health situation, such as a severe anxiety attack, prevented someone from remaining on-scene
  • Physical injury or a head trauma caused disorientation or confusion
  • A driver did not want to stop and interact with a stranger after an accident, so they left with the intent of contacting police later and from a safe location
  • A young driver panicked, didn’t know what to do, so they just proceeded to their destination (we have seen this several times with high school \ college aged drivers).

A leaving the scene charge is normally a lot more straightforward for a prosecutor to prove than a DUI. All that is normally required is that there was a collision followed by the defendant leaving before fully identifying himself and offering any necessary aid. Even though it is more straightforward, most cases carry a much more severe sentence, including up to one year in prison for situations without any real injuries. Penalties go up drastically for situations involving a serious injury and\or death.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, of being charged with DUI and leaving the scene, you should know that you are not alone. Every year our attorneys defend all types of people in-and-around Lexington\Columbia with this set of charges.

Normally the DUI is going to be referred to Magistrate or Municipal Court, and the leaving the scene is going to go to General Sessions. Many times they charges actually have totally separate prosecutors, many times those prosecutors don’t readily talk to each other or coordinate anything. It’s up to us to ensure that both charges are handled fairly and accurately.

We begin by notifying the DUI court that we are contesting the charge. That will give us time to get all the case information, investigate the facts and perform our legal analysis before any decisions have to be made.

There are several possible defenses to a leaving the scene charge, and there are many possible outcomes where it may be possible to avoid a conviction on one or both of the charges. Leaving the scene charges can be dismissed, reduced, or put into PTI. DUI charges also can be reduced or dismissed. Contact our office today to being your DUI defense.

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  • South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • 10.0 Superb Rating on Avvo
  • Accredited Business by the Better Business Bureau
  • The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • National College for DUI Defense

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