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Georgia Hit-and-Run: What Happens When Someone Hits a Parked Car?

Donald Singleton
September 27, 2022

In Georgia, 911 centers receive calls from terrified citizens: “Someone hit my parked car and left!” Although the police dispatcher will have the geo-location of that caller’s cell phone, they will still ask, “Where is this collision?” Training is provided to law enforcement personnel that drivers who flee the scene of a roadway accident while engaging in illegal activities.

Several hit and run cases in Georgia involve occupied vehicles, as well as hit and run cases of parked cars. The majority of accidents involving parked cars are witnessed or documented by eyewitnesses or video devices, except in rural areas where accidents are rare.

There are three possible explanations for 95% of all hit-and-run accidents involving parked cars:

  1. It was unclear whether this was a misdemeanor or felony for the driver responsible for the damage;
  2. There was a knowledge of one or more laws being violated, such as drunk driving, no insurance (driving without car insurance), reckless driving GA, etc.
  3. At fault drivers simply “ran from the problem” in the face of such an emergency situation.

There are a variety of ways in which leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal penalties. This page discusses the criminal consequences for all of these variations. To determine whether a hit-and-run is a felony or misdemeanor under Georgia law, certain factors must be considered.

There are times when seasoned motorists misjudge the clearance between two vehicles traveling at a speed that prevents them from successfully negotiating a turn. Distracted driving and texting while driving are two examples of cases where the driver was distracted. It is also common for drivers to be drunk or high during the night, which contributes to many hit-and-runs.

Most readers of this article will be happy to hear that most hit-and-run accidents involving parked cars result in only misdemeanor motor vehicle charges. Hit-and-runs of parked cars are relatively insignificant after the auto insurance company settles the damages (or you pay out of pocket).

When a driver strikes an occupied vehicle and injures or kills another person, there is the potential for a felony charge. A Georgia district attorney may file a charge under 40-6-270 (hit and run), 40-6-391 (DUI) or 40-6-390 (reckless driving) as the “predicate driving offense” in this case.

In Georgia, 911 centers receive calls from terrified citizens: “Someone hit my parked car and left!” Although the police dispatcher will have the geo-location of that caller’s cell phone, they will still ask, “Where is this collision?” Training is provided to law enforcement personnel that drivers who flee the scene of a roadway accident while engaging in illegal activities.

Several hit and run cases in Georgia involve occupied vehicles, as well as hit and run cases of parked cars. The majority of accidents involving parked cars are witnessed or documented by eyewitnesses or video devices, except in rural areas where accidents are rare.

There are three possible explanations for 95% of all hit-and-run accidents involving parked cars:

  1. It was unclear whether this was a misdemeanor or felony for the driver responsible for the damage;
  2. There was a knowledge of one or more laws being violated, such as drunk driving, no insurance (driving without car insurance), reckless driving GA, etc.
  3. At fault drivers simply “ran from the problem” in the face of such an emergency situation.

There are a variety of ways in which leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal penalties. This page discusses the criminal consequences for all of these variations. To determine whether a hit-and-run is a felony or misdemeanor under Georgia law, certain factors must be considered.

There are times when seasoned motorists misjudge the clearance between two vehicles traveling at a speed that prevents them from successfully negotiating a turn. Distracted driving and texting while driving are two examples of cases where the driver was distracted. It is also common for drivers to be drunk or high during the night, which contributes to many hit-and-runs.

Most readers of this article will be happy to hear that most hit-and-run accidents involving parked cars result in only misdemeanor motor vehicle charges. Hit-and-runs of parked cars are relatively insignificant after the auto insurance company settles the damages (or you pay out of pocket).

When a driver strikes an occupied vehicle and injures or kills another person, there is the potential for a felony charge. A Georgia district attorney may file a charge under 40-6-270 (hit and run), 40-6-391 (DUI) or 40-6-390 (reckless driving) as the “predicate driving offense” in this case.

What Are The Georgia Hit And Run Laws Relating to a Parked Car?

An average citizen is familiar with the phrase “hit and run,” which means a crime was committed. In this situation, you might ask yourself, “Why wouldn’t that driver stop and give his or her liability insurance information? ”

Typically, when we picture this scenario, we envision someone driving drunk or recklessly, then leaving the scene without calling 911. Most of the time, unoccupied vehicles parked at the scene of an accident are the ones that leave the scene of an accident. The same applies to traffic violations like speeding and running stop signs.

When you Google “parked car,” you are most likely to find either of two questions. A damaged vehicle owner or a criminal who knows they have committed a misdeed may ask this question. This second group of Georgia hit and run parked car violators is represented by our criminal defense lawyers.

Our Atlanta attorneys don’t represent property owners seeking property damages under their uninsured motorist coverage. The Atlanta lawyers at our firm will not represent an at-fault driver seeking to offset his or her insurance deductible. In the event that you need legal representation in the area of criminal defense, our Atlanta lawyers can assist you.

What is the penalty for leaving the scene of a hit and run accident in Georgia?

There are a lot of minor hit-and-run accidents occurring in parking lots. During the process of entering or exiting a parking space, vehicles make contact with each other. In some cases, scofflaws will rationalize dents and dings in parking lots are part of living in an urban environment. Others will write off fender benders as “too minor” and not leave a note.

There is no such thing as ‘minor damage’ for anybody who has had to pay for a body repair. If your car is struck by another car or if your car hits another vehicle, you should know what you need to do. If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run, don’t file a claim for collision coverage until you’ve spoken with an experienced lawyer.

 

 

4 Typical Scenarios Criminal Justice Attorneys have handled for Clients facing Misdemeanor vs Felony Charges

It is common for our law office to begin cases with similar facts. The majority of hit and run crashes involve two vehicles, but some people wonder what the penalty is for hitting a parked car and running away.

“I hit a car in a parking lot and left the scene”

A common call we receive each month is from people who need legal help defending “the hit and run of a parked car without any witnesses.” These types of calls are common.

People who hide and do not come forward are afraid of being found and arrested, or they may face more serious charges. These cases can usually be “fixed” in most cases. Depending on your situation, our DUI attorneys near me may be able to help you pay out of pocket for the repairs or get your liability coverage to handle the claim.

A police officer called and asked about a DUI hit and run of my parked car in Georgia.

A leaving-the-scene case will always be “worked out” by our criminal lawyers without involving the criminal justice system. You may be able to get help from our Atlanta GA attorneys if the calls to the client come from the client’s own vehicle, not from the police.There may never be a need for police involvement in this case.

In the event that you receive such a call, you should not speak with a law enforcement officer from the hit and run unit. Then hang up and contact an attorney to get the officer’s name and number. Let your lawyer speak for you.

The intake paralegal tells the potential client, “I hit a parked car and drove away, but I think someone got my tag number.” If not an eyewitness, perhaps Ring video or premises cameras captured your car type and tag number. There are far more instances of this in densely populated areas than people realize.

“My car was hit and driven off, but when I called the police, I was arrested for driving under the influence. Upon detecting alcohol or marijuana on the scene, police will conduct a driving under the influence investigation against you.”

Keep your conversations with the police to a minimum. There is no need to discuss anything other than your name and address (and perhaps proof of your liability insurance coverage). Most of the time, you will not be allowed to call a lawyer.

DO NOT attempt to perform any field tests as they are not required by law. To assist the officer, provide the officer with the tag number of the other driver. It is best not to explain how the accident occurred, as the officer may claim you have slurred speech as a result.

“I was asleep in a parking space when I was rear-ended by a hit-and-run driver. When I wasn’t driving, how can this DUI arrest be justified?”

If you are wondering whether you can get a DUI while parked in your car, the answer is YES.” There is no requirement that the vehicle is in motion for an officer to charge you with DUI in Georgia.

We have provided free initial advice on a “hit and run car no witness” report in the very few cases when our firm has handled such a report. Why is that? You may not be aware of the crime until someone contacts you.

A body shop may, however, fix the damages surreptitiously for our client, and then the police will seek out any body shop that fixed the front-end collision on a 2016 Lexus 300 that was hit and run (by the broken-off headlamp). There may be a 20-year prison sentence if you try to cover up a crime that caused the death of a victim.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you find yourself pulled over for a traffic violation, it’s always smart to pull off to the side of the road rather than continue down the highway. This will give you a better chance of avoiding being arrested for drunk driving. And even if you aren’t drinking, it’s never too late to take advantage of the many resources available to help you avoid arrest altogether. On the question how to locate a hit and run driver after car crash, we already reviewed the topic. You can find it in our blog.

Donald Singleton

Donald Singleton

Author

A Georgia native, Don founded Singleton Law Firm in 1999 as a continuation of his lifetime commitment to serving his state and community. He has concentrated his trial practice to representing victims of serious injury and wrongful death arising out of trucking, car, bus and motorcycle accidents, premises liability and a wide variety of other causes.

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