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DWI hit and run

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New Hampshire, Hit and Run Accidents, DWIs, & Why You Need a Lawyer

Without a doubt, a DWI accident is quite serious, and this troubling scenario can be made even worse when a motorist is accused of failing to stop and fleeing the scene of the accident. In a recent article, USA Today reported that, within the United States, approximately 11% of all traffic related accidents involved hit and run drivers. Within a legal context, a hit and run accident is defined as a scenario in which a motorist is involved in an accident or collision and leaves the accident’s scene before police officers have the opportunity to respond.

Within the state of New Hampshire, each motorist has a legal duty to report any vehicular accident or crash that result in personal injury or property damage. Failing to do so will result in criminal charges of failure to report, in addition to potential accusations of criminal offenses, like driving while intoxicated. When a motorist causes a collision and promptly leaves the scene of the accident, police officers are routinely suspicious of their motives for doing so. Often times, once the motorist has been apprehended, police officers will accuse them of a DWI (driving while intoxicated) as the motivating factor in why they decided to leave the scene.

In an article published in November of 2013, USA Today highlighted the fact that, throughout the United States, hit and run accidents are on the rise. In the article, it was reported that, between 2009 and 2011 alone, hit and run collisions within the U.S. have increased by slightly over 13%. The article goes on to interview multiple experts as to why a motorist might be motivated to leave the scene of an accident. Sara Solnick, the current Chairwoman of the University of Vermont’s Department of Economics, has extensively studied the phenomenon of hit and run accidents and made the following statement to USA Today:

"Drivers are more likely to run if they feel there is a reason to do so. They're more likely to have high blood-alcohol content, or they're driving without a license, or they're very young drivers."

It is never a smart idea to the leave the scene of an automobile accident – regardless of whether or not you have been drinking. Frequently, such accidents are reported by one or more witnesses, and the offending motorist is quickly apprehended. Once an arrest has been made, he or she is going to face a myriad of criminal charges, particularly if alcohol or drugs were involved.

New Hampshire’s Criminal Penalties For Hit and Run Accidents Involving DWIs

There are multiple criminal charges that can arise from a scenario involving a hit and run. First and foremost, state statute RSA 264:25 reads that a motorist who has knowledge of, or whom should have reasonably known, that they were involved in a collision that resulted in property damage, personal injury to another individual, or death, should immediately halt their automobile at the scene of the accident and provide any other parties involved, including the damaged property’s owner, with this information:

§  Their full name and an up to date address

§  The motorist’s driver’s license number

§  Their automobile’s registration number

§  The address and name of each of the vehicle’s occupants

If no one is available to provide this information to, such as if the property owner cannot be found, then the info should be provided to the law enforcement official who responds to the scene of the accident. If a police officer is unavailable for some reason, then the information should be reported to the nearest police precinct. Any individual who fails to follow these legal requirements could potentially be charged with a Class B felony criminal charge if the accident resulted in personal injury or death to another individual. Within the state of New Hampshire, the criminal penalties for a Class B felony conviction include:

§  Monetary fines of up to $2,000.00

§  A potential prison sentence of 3.5 to 7 years

Moreover, it is wholly possible that a motorist can be charged with driving while intoxicated. This is actually quite common in hit and run scenarios. Even for a first time offender, a DWI conviction can result in monetary fines, loss of driver’s license, and other penalties.

If the accident resulted in serious bodily harm to another person, then the criminal charges will be altered to include a more serious charge of aggravated DWI. Under our state’s current laws, serious bodily injury is defined as “any harm to the body which causes severe, permanent or protracted loss of or impairment to the health or of the function of any part of the body”. For a person convicted of an aggravated DWI, the penalties and sanctions they face include:

§  Felony Class B criminal charges

§  A minimum monetary fine of $1,000.00

§  A mandatory jail sentence of at least 35 days – 14 of which cannot legally be suspended

§  A comprehensive substance abuse disorder evaluation, counseling, and treatment

§  Revocation of driving privileges for a period ranging from 1.5 to 2 years

§  Random drug and alcohol testing

The Importance of Hiring a New Hampshire DWI Attorney

If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated and arrested for a hit and run accident, your immediate first step should be to contact a skilled and experienced NH DWI lawyer. Per the USA Today report, other forms of fatal vehicular accidents are decreasing; however, hit and run accidents are on the rise, which is causing states to significantly crack down on any motorist accused of leaving the scene of an accident. Such an offense can potentially result in numerous felony charges. In addition to the aforementioned sentences, a conviction for a hit and run offense will be included on any background check that is conducted by an educational institution or potential employer. Furthermore, your auto insurance rates will rise astronomically.

For a free consultation with one of our firm’s skilled and experienced DWI attorneys, please contact us today via email, telephone, or through our website.



Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee a future outcome. Results include cases in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Attorney Dan Hynes is admitted to practice law only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This website may be considered advertising. Contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship and the information on this site is not legal advice and may be inaccurate or not applicable to your case. Each case is different.

Mailing Address: Dan Hynes PO BOX 598 Merrimack, NH 03054