Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Hello. For a first offense leaving the scene of the accident in GA, you are looking at probably a misdemeanor if there was just property damage and no injuries. You could face fines of $300 to $1000 dollars and up to 1 year in jail (although from what I am reading I understand jail time is rare on a first offense). Additionally, it is an automatic revocation of license for 6 months or more (I know you did not want to hear that). You CAN apply for a hardship license for work purposes and if you have no prior record it should be granted without issue on a first offense. If you can afford an attorney I suggest that you get one. If you were driving an 18 wheeler and the roads weren't all that great that evening and then you stopped fairly close to the accident scene, you might be able to make out a defense that you did not believe that you could stop safely immediately after it happened so you slowed down gradually and pulled over to a complete stop at that time -- which was when you were going to call the police, but the officer was already behind you. I don't think that defense would work with a regular motor vehicle -- but with a large truck you needed to get control of the vehicle and yourself and that is when you pulled over. However, with you arguing the case you may not get very far -- if you have a lawyer speak with the prosecutor they may be able to get the charges down to something less than leaving the scene of an accident in order to preserve your driver's license at least. If you absolutely cannot afford a lawyer you can see if the court will appoint one for you based upon your finances -- but you have to be just above poverty level for that so they might not appoint a lawyer.
I wish I had better news -- but I do believe that a lawyer will help to preserve your license and ultimately that is what you want. To find a local lawyer contact your county bar association -- they all have referral services and if you tell them your situation they can give you names of a few lawyers that you can speak with and then you can decide which one may be able to help you with such a defense.
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