Have you been charged with leaving the scene of an accident in central KY? Protect yourself by talking to the experienced Lexington, KY hit-and-run defense attorneys of the Carman Law Firm. We will examine the details of your case and use every available legal resource to build the strongest possible defense. Every situation has unique facts and circumstances affecting the outcome – not all motor vehicle hit-and-run charges have to end in conviction. We provide each client with the same aggressive and thorough representation, all aimed to take advantage of opportunities for reduced bond, case dismissal, reduced charges, reduced sentences, and alternatives to imprisonment. Our founding attorney, Dan Carman, is admitted to practice in Kentucky state courts, the federal courts in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, he is proud to offer his services to help his community.
Hit and run is a condensed way of referring to a situation where a driver is involved in an accident with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a fixed object, and leaves the scene and/or does not contact law enforcement and/or fails to give aid. This offense arose from olden days when driving goggles, dusty roads, and lack of license plates all contributed to make it tough for victims of traffic wrecks to identify perpetrators, but has modern rationales, as well.
Today’s legal definition of the offense does not reference fault. Rather, the offense is committed when the driver fails to offer assistance and flees the scene. Chapter 189 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes states that the operator of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage has a duty to immediately stop, ascertain the extent of the injury or damage, and render reasonable assistance. Moreover, the operator must give the other party certain information including name, address, phone number, and insurance company details. This is true whether or not the other vehicle is occupied.
A driver who leaves the scene of an accident that results in property damage is, of course, treated less harshly than one that results in serious injury or death. However, failing to leave contact or insurance information can result in the escalation of a minor fender bender from a traffic ticket to a misdemeanor crime. Regardless of the type of harm caused, leaving the scene suggests guilt, and that can be a hard presumption to overcome without the help of a skilled KY defense attorney. Some of the possible explanations that can be raised:
- There were urgent circumstances leading up to the accident or that can explain why the driver left the scene. Being able to argue that he or she had reasonable cause to leave the scene may not result in an acquittal or a dismissal of the charge, but it may lessen the severity of the sentence.
- The driver did not know of the damage or injury, so the leaving wasn’t unreasonable.
- The driver’s consciousness or ability to make reasonable decisions was involuntarily compromised.
- The driver suffers from an injury or disability that prevented him or her from rendering assistance.
Creative defense arguments can also involve elements of mistake, double jeopardy and procedural issues.
The penalties that can be imposed for a Class A misdemeanor is up to 365 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. For a Class D felony, a defendant can be sentenced to between one and five years in prison and fined up to $10,000. A conviction for hit-and-run also includes assessing six points to the defendant’s license to drive, and may result in cancellation of his or her vehicle insurance policy. Significantly, a conviction for Leaving the Scene of an Accident can result in a 6-month administrative driver’s license suspension by the Kentucky Department of Transportation. It is far more preferable to be convicted of, for example, Failure to Report and Accident (Failure to File an Accident Report) and simply pay a fine.
We Can Help
Whether this is the first time you have been arrested or cited, or you have prior criminal convictions on your record, securing good legal representation early in the process is crucial to your case. Come to the Kentucky defense attorneys at the Carman Law Firm to discuss the charges, review the circumstances of your arrest, and make a plan for defending your rights.
Managing partner Dan Carman is a knowledgeable, compassionate Kentucky hit & run defense attorney who will work diligently with you and tirelessly for you. He has wide-ranging experience from when he served in the United States Marine Corps as defense counsel, prosecutor, legal assistance attorney, and in-house counsel for an infantry battalion. This background gives him a valuable understanding about both sides of the legal process, which can be very beneficial to his clients. He knows how the Kentucky Criminal Justice system operates and will personally handle your case every step of the way. He even offers a free initial consultation to help you get started. Call his office at (859) 685-1055 or complete this convenient online form.