Hit-and-run accidents are considered serious offenses even if the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In general, the penalties for a hit-and-run conviction mainly depend on if the accident caused damages, injuries, or death.
If any hit-and-run accidents caused only damage to property, it would be considered a misdemeanor (in most states, including Oregon). But if such a crash results in death or injury of another person, then the driver will face felony charges.
Misdemeanor hit-and-run accidents usually bring a maximum of one year in jail and fines of several thousand dollars, a felony hit-and-run conviction leads to severe penalties, including jail time and high fines.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is typically a misdemeanor but can also be a felony if the defendant has previous DUI convictions, or if the accident caused severe injuries or death of another person.
If this is the defendant’s first DUI without any injuries or death, then he or she might spend a few days in jail and may pay several thousand dollars in fines. The driver’s license will also be suspended for six months.
In case the driver was convicted for DUI in the past or in the current accident they caused serious injuries to another person while drunk driving, they could spend five years in prison, pay fines up to $100 000 and a lifetime license revocation. If the driver had previous convictions they may also have to install an ignition interlock device.
DUI and Hit-and-Run Accident
Causing an accident (that caused damages, injuries, or death to another person) requires the driver to stay at the scene and provide information to the police, but also help anyone who is injured.
In cases of hit-and-run accidents, the driver flees without helping or providing any information. Drivers do this to avoid future consequences. Hit-and-run drivers sometimes flee the scene because they don’t have insurance or because they don’t want their insurance rates to be raised.
When a DUI driver causes an accident and flees the scene, it may happen because they don’t want to be arrested for driving under the influence. In these cases, offenders in hit-and-run accidents see fleeing as the safest way to save themselves.
Also, the driver may be so impaired that they were not even aware that they have caused an accident. If a driver that caused an accident in such circumstances gets caught, they will be charged with DUI and hit-and-run. If they are convicted, will face penalties for both DUI and hit-and-run.
If the driver is convicted of a crime, the judge will decide about the sentence within a range specified by law.
Let’s say this is the driver’s second DUI; it should bring them one year in jail, but the judge has the discretion to decide whether the driver will get a full year.
In such cases, judges will consider various factors, including if the crime involved an accident, injuries, or any other aggravating factors. Driving under the influence in case of a hit-and-run accident will not improve the defendant’s chances of getting a milder sentence. The most probable outcome is that the judge will heighten the penalties for both offenses.
Hit-and-Run Accidents and DUI in Oregon
Hit-and-run accidents in Oregon are a serious criminal offense. You could face high fines, loss of your license, and even jail time if you are convicted.
It is not uncommon for drunk drivers to get scared and not think clearly. The driver will panic with the thought that they might end in prison, so they decide to leave.
Even though you’ve been drinking and caused an accident, make sure you stay at the scene. Leaving the scene is a crime. Staying at the scene could help your attorney with your defense. Escaping the scene is risky, because there may be bystanders who memorized your car plates, so the police will easily find you.
Many drunk drivers decide to leave the scene out of fear, but also because they’re aware of what might happen (especially in case they had previous charges).
If you were involved in a similar situation and you are now facing the outcomes, we are here to help you. You made a mistake and you deserve an experienced attorney who will defend you. Our team of lawyers is here to review your case and answer every question you have. We will give our best to help you get the best possible outcome.
If you’re looking for a consultation with DUI attorneys, contact our office today; we offer you a free case review. Let us stand by your side.