In general, a hit-and-run refers to the criminal act of fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident before exchanging information or notifying the proper authorities. Although the definition of a hit-and-run and the resulting penalties may vary from state to state, the act itself is considered a crime in every jurisdiction throughout the United States.
To learn more about the legal requirements and penalties associated with DUI hit-and-run crimes in your state, it may be in your best interest to consult with a local DUI/DWI attorney. An attorney can explain the laws that are relevant to your jurisdiction and case. An attorney can also help you press charges against someone who left the scene of an accident you were involved in. Alternatively, they can defend you against a DUI hit-and-run accusation.
What Is Driving under the Influence?
Driving under the influence, better known as a “DUI”, is when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or some other substance that impairs their physical coordination and judgment. Some states may also refer to the act as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating under the influence (OUI).
Also, many states have laws that set the guidelines for when a person is considered to be driving under the influence. The majority of states consider a person to be eligible for a DUI when their blood alcohol content rises above the level of either 0.08 percent or 0.10 percent.
How Is Hit-and-Run Defined in Nevada?
In Nevada, all persons involved in a car crash have a duty to stop at the scene of an accident. This is true regardless of whose fault the accident is and whether or not anyone is seriously injured. A person who fails to stop or leaves the scene of a car crash can face criminal charges.
A person will be charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run in Nevada if they leave the site of a car crash that involves property damage. On the other hand, if a car collision results in serious bodily harm or death to others, then a person can be charged with a class B felony for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident in Nevada.
In addition, all drivers involved in the accident must exchange the following information:
- Their name;
- Their address;
- Their driver’s license (if requested); and
- Their vehicle identification number (VIN).
How Does Nevada Define DUI?
According to the Nevada Revised Statute, a person is considered to be driving “under the influence” when they are impaired to a degree that renders them either incapable of exercising physical control over a vehicle or incapable of driving a vehicle in a safe manner. While this may cover both alcohol and drugs, Nevada state laws explicitly refer to drugs as “prohibited substances.”
Thus, anyone who operates a motor vehicle at the same time their blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of alcohol or drugs prescribed by Nevada state law can be charged with committing a DUI. Specifically, in Nevada, any driver whose BAC exceeds that of 0.08 percent will not only be in violation of the law, but will meet Nevada’s legal definition of “under the influence.”
Why Am I Facing Two Separate Criminal Charges If I Fled the Scene of an Accident While Drunk?
Regardless of the state wherein one resides, a DUI and a hit-and-run are normally considered to be two separate crimes. Although they often occur at the same time, a person can still face two separate criminal charges for this very reason.
In addition, a person can also face separate criminal charges if they are involved in a DUI hit-and-run that severely harms or kills other individuals. This means that a defendant can be criminally charged for every victim who is injured or killed in a DUI hit-and-run accident.
Can I Face Any Additional Criminal Charges for Leaving a Scene of an Accident While Drunk?
Leaving the scene of a car crash while intoxicated is one of the worst things that a person can do when involved in a drunk driving incident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, a person can also be charged with the following crimes:
- Vehicular homicide;
- Reckless driving; and/or
- Causing bodily harm, injuries, or death to other persons.
As previously mentioned, it is important to keep in mind that for each victim that a drunk driver injures in the accident and the aftermath, they can be charged with a separate crime. In most cases, a car crash that results in bodily injury or death to another will be punished in a similar manner as to those who are convicted of committing a felony DUI.
What Is the Penalty for Hit-and-Run and DUI in Nevada?
The penalty that one receives for committing the crime of a hit-and-run in the state of Nevada will depend on whether the person is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony offense. In general, the punishment for a misdemeanor hit-and-run in Nevada includes:
- A criminal fine for up to $1,000;
- A jail sentence of up to six months;
- Six points against the individual’s driver license; and/or
- Some combination of these penalties or potentially all of the above.
On the other hand, if a person is charged with committing a felony hit-and-run in Nevada, then the penalties they can receive will be much more severe. Some examples of such penalties may include:
- Criminal fines, ranging between $2,000 and $5,000 or more;
- A prison sentence of at least two years, extending up to twenty years; and/or
- Suspension or revocation of one’s driver license.
DUIs can also be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense in Nevada. Thus, some common penalties that may cover both types of charges may include:
- A jail or prison sentence of up to twenty years;
- Criminal fines, ranging between $2,000 and $5,000 or more;
- Suspension of a person’s driver license for up to three years;
- A breath interlock on their vehicle for between twelve and thirty-six months;
- Mandatory alcohol and/or drug evaluations, treatments, and classes; and/or
- Being ordered to sit on a Victim Impact Panel.
Do I Need to Speak with an Attorney About My DUI Hit-And-Run?
If you are facing charges for a DUI hit-and-run in the state of Nevada, you should contact a Nevada DUI/DWI attorney in your area immediately. Although a misdemeanor offense usually carries lesser penalties than felony crimes, a DUI hit-and-run is in fact a combination of two extremely serious separate crimes. Thus, you may wind up with a sentence that is more akin to those reserved for felonies, as opposed to misdemeanors if you are convicted of this crime.
A Nevada attorney who has experience in handling DUI hit-and-run cases will be able to inform you of your rights as a criminal defendant under Nevada state laws and can discuss your options. Your attorney can also find out if there are any defenses you can raise against the charges and/or can petition the court on your behalf for a reduced sentence.
In addition, if you require legal representation either in criminal court or at negotiations for a plea deal, your attorney will be able to provide this invaluable legal service as well. Finally, your attorney can also assist you in preparing for your trial, such as if you need help with drafting any key legal documents for your case or are unsure of how to file documents with the court.