On October 28, 2015, two separate hit-and-run incidents were reported in West Denver. According to reports, the first accident involved an injured pedestrian. The second accident involved two vehicles. Both resulted in serious injuries. While it is not currently known whether any of the drivers involved were under the influence of alcohol or any drugs, it is not uncommon for intoxication to be a factor in such cases. Drivers who are involved in accidents while under the influence often realize they are potentially in serious trouble, panic, and flee the scene. Although some commentators have suggested that fleeing the scene is a wise choice for intoxicated drivers under current laws, nothing could be further from the truth in actual fact.
Common Sense and the Law
It is true that in the time between the accident and being apprehended, a driver may have time to “sober up” in some cases. It is also true that the legal consequences of hit-and-run (by itself) are less severe than the consequences of being in an accident while under the influence. But there are still important reasons to not flee the scene of an accident even if you are intoxicated.
- First, there are no guarantees that enough time will elapse for the alcohol or drugs in a driver’s system to dissipate. Police are very good at tracking down hit-and-run drivers. If there are any witnesses, all available law enforcement resources will be devoted to finding you as soon as possible. And when they do find you, they will not be happy to see you. You will immediately be tested for any alcohol or drugs, and if there are trace amounts remaining, a good prosecutor and toxicologist will still be able to build a case against you based on the time that elapsed between the accident and your arrest.
- Second, fleeing the scene of an accident is dangerous and can potentially lead to a second accident caused by haste and carelessness, or damage already done to the vehicle. Fleeing the scene of an accident not only risks injury to the driver, but also risks compounding the legal troubles they are already in.
- Third, leaving the scene of an accident involving a serious injury or death is still a felony, regardless of whether the driver is intoxicated or not.
- Finally, hit-and-run drivers apprehended in time to detect evidence of intoxication will be charged with both the DUI related charges and the hit-and-run related charges. Conviction on both of these charges will result in a much harsher overall sentence, and a sentencing judge will be extremely unsympathetic with a person who not only drove drunk but also fled the scene of an accident.
Regardless of what may happen in occasional cases, it is never a good idea to flee the scene of an accident. You do yourself no favors by attempting to escape responsibility, and you end up risking worse consequences. It is much easier for an attorney to defend or get a favorable deal for a defendant who shows responsibility for their actions than for someone who attempts to avoid responsibility.
Contact a Colorado DUI Attorney Today
If you have been in an accident, whether you are intoxicated or not, do not flee the scene. Call a lawyer instead. You need the best defense you can get, and the best defense begins with not doing anything to increase the severity of the charges against you. Contact the attorneys at Tiftickjian Law Firm today. Let us stand between you and the justice system.