Each time you pull out of the driveway or a parking lot, the last thing on your mind is getting into an auto accident. However, unfortunate incidents happen when you least expect them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 6,734,000 accidents took place in 2018 alone. Even though you’re a careful driver, chances are that others on the road aren’t, and a mishap occurs. Under specific circumstances, the incident can be categorized as a criminal offense. If proved, the culprit can be sent to prison for a misdemeanor or felony. Read ahead for more information about the scenarios where an accident is considered a crime and how to avoid them.
Never, Ever Drink and Drive
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or any controlled substances is a criminal offense, even if you’re not involved in an accident. Law enforcement officers have the right to stop any person they suspect of being intoxicated and subject them to a Breathalyzer Test. If the test shows a Breath Alcohol Unit (BAU) of 0.08 percent or above, you can be prosecuted for a DUI charge. The penalties include fines, license suspension, probation, and even jail time. Your Jacksonville criminal lawyer can assist you with more information on how to face the charges.
Never Drive Recklessly
Reckless driving behavior is driving without paying attention to local traffic laws with complete and utter disregard for the safety of other people. Any person found guilty of speeding, weaving through traffic by constantly changing lanes and ignoring traffic signals can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. If such driving behavior results in injuring people on the road or damaging personal property, the penalties can be more severe. The final sentencing depends on whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony according to the specific circumstances and if the victim was injured or killed.
Never Try to Escape the Site
If you ever face an unfortunate situation where someone is hurt because of your driving, fleeing the scene will right away result in criminal charges. As a responsible citizen, you must stop and do what you can to help the injured person. The law mandates that you inform law enforcement about the incident and report damages caused to an individual, animal or personal property. The penalty of a hit-and-run case is a maximum of 15 years in prison which you can avoid by doing the right thing.
Never Try to Flee the Police
If a police officer asks you to stop for whatever reason, the law expects that you follow instructions and do as you’re told. Trying to drive off to escape the police and causing an accident is a serious criminal offense, especially if you’re speeding to avoid being arrested after committing a crime.
A car accident can be a serious crime if someone is hurt or their property is damaged. Drive carefully and avoid drinking and driving to stay safe on the road.