It's a statistic that District of Columbia residents probably aren't proud of -- Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run accidents in the country, WTOP reports.
Many hit-and-run accidents are the result of drinking, so hiring an experienced Washington, D.C., DWI lawyer would be the smart thing to do.
Being charged with DWI in Washington, D.C., can be daunting for someone who hasn't been introduced to the criminal justice system. Many people who cause an accident and drive off aren't doing it because they're trying to be disrespectful or hurtful, but because they're terrified of the consequences, even if the accident isn't their fault.
In cases where a person dies as the result of a vehicle accident, a driver can face vehicular homicide or negligent homicide charges in Washington, D.C. These are serious charges that can lead to years behind bars.
According to the news story, one in every six fatal accidents between 2000 and 2009 in the District of Columbia were caused by a person who left the scene, Mid-Atlantic AAA reports. According to the organization's statistics, that's 76 people who died, which includes not only other drivers, but also pedestrians and bicyclists.
Washington, D.C., didn't have the highest number of fatal hit-and-run accidents in the mid-Atlantic region, but the highest rate based on traffic deaths. In Maryland, 279 of the 6,219 traffic deaths involved drivers who took off to avoid arrest. In Virginia, 217 of the 9,161 fatal accidents were hit-and-runs. In the District, 76 of the 465 deaths -- 16.3 percent -- were hit-and-runs. Maryland, at 4.5 percent and Virginia, at 2.4 percent, were considerably lower.
A person convicted of negligent homicide can face up to five years in prison. If a driver also flees the scene, additional charges can be filed. Many people who are found guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident get caught based on witness testimony, paint samples matching a vehicle, video surveillance and media exposure.
Attempting to fix a vehicle that has been in a bad accident when news reports are swirling about someone who committed a hit-and-run accident, especially when someone has died, could be next to impossible. It is better to avoid the crime of leaving the scene of an accident.
Even if you believe you may have caused the crash, there are defenses. It may be possible that the other driver was at fault, traffic lights were faulty or your vehicle had mechanical issues. In cases where DWI or DUI is alleged, breath testing, field sobriety tests and other issues can be brought up in defense of the client.
Not every case appears as it seems and not every person arrested by police is guilty. That's why hiring an experienced Washington, D.C., DWI lawyer is so important. You have rights and they must be upheld at every stage of the case. Well-researched defenses must be presented.