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What Happens if You Flee the Scene of a DUI Collision in Tennessee?

Posted on in DUI/DWI

Campbell County drunk driving defense attorney

The state of Tennessee punishes those who drive under the influence (DUI) harshly, even for first-time offenders. Penalties increase for subsequent DUI convictions against a driver, but they become even more severe if a person is injured or killed because of a DUI collision. Additionally, Tennessee punishes those who flee the scene after causing a drunk driving car crash, regardless of whether it caused injury or death to a victim.

Is Fleeing the Scene Considered a Felony?

Tennessee law states that any person who flees the scene of a collision -- whether or not alcohol or drugs are involved -- will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This includes accidents which take place on or at:

  • Highways

  • Shopping center property

  • Trailer parks

  • Apartment complexes

  • Other public properties that are frequented by a lot of people

Punishments for this type of conviction include a fine up to $2,500 and/or a maximum sentence of one year in prison. However, the misdemeanor charge can be elevated to a Class E felony charge if the driver who flees the scene knows that a victim is injured or dead before leaving. The punishment for this conviction is a fine up to $3,000 and/or a prison term of one to six years.

What Types of DUI Charges Can an Offender Face?

On top of the punishments for fleeing the scene of a collision, a drunk driver could also face punishments for driving under the influence. However, it may be difficult for prosecutors to determine if an offender was drunk at the time of the accident. For a motorist to be convicted, the prosecution will need to prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Depending on the time it takes for the police to find the offending driver, the BAC of the driver may be back to normal. In these cases, a prosecutor may need to rely on other forms of evidence demonstrating a driver's intoxication. Even if DUI cannot be proven, a DUI driver can still be charged with one of two other crimes as a result of the collision:

  • Vehicular Assault: A Class D felony, issued after a collision leaves a victim seriously injured.

  • Vehicular Homicide: A Class B felony, issued after a collision results in a victim's death.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN DUI Defense Attorney

Fleeing the scene of a DUI accident is a reaction someone might have out of fear of being convicted of a crime. However, it can lead to more severe punishments when the police do find the offender. If you are fighting DUI and fleeing-the-scene charges, it is critical that you hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of William F. Evans. We can build a strong defense on your behalf so you can avoid prison time or the loss of your driving privileges. To schedule a free consultation with a Campbell County criminal defense lawyer, call our office today at 423-449-7980.

 

Sources:

https://www.tn.gov/safety/publicsafety/duioutline.html

https://casetext.com/statute/tennessee-code/title-55-motor-and-other-vehicles/chapter-10-accidents-arrests-crimes-and-penalties/part-1-accidents/section-55-10-101-accidents-involving-death-or-personal-injury

 

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