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Hit and Run

Westchester County Lawyers Advising Individuals Involved in Drunk Driving Accidents

If you are involved in a car accident in New York and drive away without stopping, you could be arrested for committing a crime. The penalties for leaving the scene of an accident are harsh, particularly if accompanied by a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI). In these cases, you need the advice of a Westchester County DWI attorney with experience handling complex felony charges. At Tilem & Associates, our lawyers have the resources and skill to defend drivers accused of hit and run DWI crimes in and around the New York City area.

Hit and Run DWI in New York

A “hit and run” refers to when a motor vehicle driver flees after being involved in an incident that results in personal injury or property damage. Hit and run accidents are commonly collisions with another moving or parked vehicle, telephone pole or real property, pedestrian or cyclist. In New York, a hit and run is a criminal offense known as leaving the scene of an incident without reporting. The law requires that a person to stop and take certain actions if they know or have cause to know that property was damaged, or that someone suffered injuries, due to an incident involving a motor vehicle they were driving. If real or personal property was damaged, the driver must provide their name, address, driver license and insurance information to the property owner, or report the accident to police if the owner is not present. When another person is injured, the driver is required to report this information to the police as well as those involved in the accident. A first-time violation for leaving the scene of an incident is typically a traffic violation for property damage. If someone was injured the driver may be charged with a misdemeanor and if someone was seriously injured or killed in the accident, however, the hit and run driver may be charged with a felony.

In most hit and run DWI cases, the defendant will face multiple criminal charges. The person identified as the hit and run driver will likely be charged with leaving the scene of an accident without reporting. In addition, the police may try to determine whether the driver was intoxicated when the accident occurred. If a suspected hit and run driver is found quickly, the police may check the driver’s blood alcohol concentration by administering a breathalyzer or other chemical test. The police may also question any witnesses at the scene of the accident regarding the driver’s behavior or manner of driving, or view surveillance video of the incident. If the police have probable cause that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver may be charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, or Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). A hit and run DWI may result in additional charges for reckless endangerment, vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter, and other criminal offenses, depending on the facts of the case.

Defend Against Criminal Charges

Analyzing the facts and evidence in a hit and run DWI case is important to determine an appropriate defense strategy. The defenses to a stand-alone DWI will generally apply in a hit and run DWI case as well. The fact that the defendant was not intoxicated at the time of the accident, for example, may be a valid defense to defeat a DWI charge. The defense may also object to evidence obtained by the police or prosecution in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. If the court agrees, it may rule that the evidence cannot be used against the defendant, thereby lessening the charges of a conviction and stiff penalties.

Defending against other criminal charges in a hit and run DWI case, such as leaving the scene of an incident without reporting or vehicular assault, is a fact-specific process. In some situations, the defendant simply did not realize that he or she hit another vehicle or damaged property. A defense to the charge may be that the defendant lacked the intent or knowledge to commit the crime. In a case of mistaken identity, the defense may argue that the defendant was not driving the vehicle involved in the hit and run accident. Witness testimony from an alibi, cell phone location tracking, or other evidence may be presented to establish a defense. It may not be enough for the police to establish who owns the car especially if the witnesses did not get a look at the driver and the driver does not admit to being the operator at the time and place of the accident.

Contact a DWI Attorney Serving Locations Throughout Westchester County

At Tilem & Associates, our dedicated team of experienced defense lawyers can protect your rights in a complex criminal case involving multiple charges. Our Westchester County legal team can represent individuals who have been arrested for vehicular assault or other crimes in Bronx, Kings, Queens, Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Richmond, and Putnam Counties. Request a legal consultation today by contacting Tilem & Associates online or calling 877-377-8666.

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