Traffic safety officials across the country are warning of an increase in the occurrence of drunk drivers who flee the scene of an accident, or DUI hit and run incidents. Many of these incidents involve pedestrians, and can cause serious injuries to victims of the reckless behavior of drunk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of fatal hit and run crashes is rising, even while the overall number of traffic incident-related deaths decreased. What factors are involved in this increase and how can innocent drivers or walkers protect themselves against encountering this situation?
While the hope is that there will never be an instance where a person finds themselves injured by a drunk driver who then fled the scene, it may be helpful to know the common defenses and how to protect against them. Many individuals who are faced with DUI hit and run charges begin with the most logical defense: specifically that they were not the person driving the car that caused the accident, or the “it wasn’t me” defense. Along the same lines, many drivers will attempt to claim that they were not drunk or reckless at the time of the accident, sometimes in connection with stating that they were not aware that they hit anything/anyone. These two defenses may not exonerate a drunk driver completely, but they may help them avoid more serious charges for their actions.
The final, and arguably most common defense, to a drunk driving hit and run charge is less of a defense and more of an offense: namely, that the police erred when gathering evidence or when making an arrest. This third tactic often leads to crucial pieces of evidence being inadmissible, or thrown out, because of more technical violations on the part of the police.
In order to ensure that a drunk driver who is involved in a hit and run accident is held accountable, it is important that the victim protects his or her interests. First and foremost, anyone who is the victim of a hit and run drunk driver should ensure that any injury is well documented. If an injury requires emergency attention, seek treatment immediately. However, if it is at all possible, record the license plate of the car that is at fault and fleeing the scene. Even if the license plate information is unavailable, try to record the description of the car including the make, model, color, and approximate year. Any details that may help police to identify the offending vehicle can make a significant difference.
Drunk drivers who also engage in DUI hit and run accidents are a serious matter, as evidenced by the Chandler police scaling back the use of motorcycles when attempting to engage drunk drivers. If reckless drunk drivers hit the police officer, civilians must do whatever they can to protect themselves against these individuals. If you or someone you know gets injuries from a reckless driver, especially one who then flees the scene of an accident, reach out to a Phoenix personal injury attorney at the Thompson Law Firm for help.
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