Hit-and-Run Defense Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
The consequences of being involved in a hit-and-run accident in Nebraska, if you’re the at-fault driver, can be severe, leading to prison time and a hefty fine. There are possible defenses, but they can be challenging to prove.
Drivers are required by the state to observe a duty of care to other drivers, pedestrians, and property—meaning they must try to avoid accidents, but if one occurs, they must stop and provide both assistance and personal contact information. If you simply drive off to avoid your responsibility, then that can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge if you’re caught.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run as the at-fault party in or around Omaha, Nebraska, contact Greg Nelson Attorney at Law.
I am a former prosecutor, so I am familiar with how evidence will be presented and can challenge everything using my knowledge and experience. Plus, I have been a criminal defense attorney for two decades. I have two offices in Omaha, and also proudly represent clients across the state of Nebraska, including the counties of Sarpy, Saunders, Dodge, and Washington.
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A Driver’s Responsibility When Involved in an Accident
When you obtain a driver’s license, you give your consent to follow the rules, which include showing a duty of care to others, and if an accident happens, to basically own up to it. Owning up to it means stopping and providing assistance and providing your personal information, which includes:
your driver’s license number
the name and address of the vehicle’s owner if other than you
your vehicle’s registration information
your insurance contact information
Rendering assistance means to contact the police to investigate and to call for medical help if needed. This also means that you must remain at the scene of the accident until medical assistance has been provided and law enforcement has conducted an investigation.
Now, if you run into a parked car with no one inside it, you still must provide the information listed above, which you can do by leaving a detailed note on the windshield or in another conspicuous place.
Hit-and-Run Charges in Nebraska
Section 60-697 of the Nebraska Code covers leaving the scene of an accident, in other words, a hit and run. First-time offenders may receive only a misdemeanor violation, but repeat offenders can see the charge rise to a felony. If there are injuries or fatalities, then the charge will obviously increase.
You could be charged with a felony for leaving the scene of an accident in Nebraska. The penalties could include up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. You could also be ordered to serve up to nine months of post-release supervision.
Note also that Nebraska is an at-fault auto insurance state. If you are caught in a hit-and-run, the victim can recover injury and property damages up to the limits of your policy. After that, they can also sue you in court for economic and non-economic damages resulting from the accident you caused. These include medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
Depending on the extent of injuries or damages your accident caused, your auto insurance premium could also rise dramatically, or possibly even be canceled. If that happens, you will have to apply for high-risk auto insurance, which has pretty high rates of coverage.
Possible Defenses for a Hit and Run
Depending on the circumstances of your hit and run, there may be defenses available to you. Three typical defenses include:
Responding to an Emergency: This defense hinges on your need to get someone or yourself to a hospital or another emergency facility. However, prosecutors and authorities will do their best to counter your argument, so it needs to be pretty solid.
You Were Unaware of an Injury, or Had Lack of Knowledge: Say you bumped someone in the rear and it appeared that no damage or injuries occurred, so you drove on thinking everything was okay. It might be a hard sell, but it could also be genuine.
You Were Involuntarily Intoxicated: Perhaps you just came from a doctor’s appointment and were taking a new medication that left you involuntarily high or intoxicated, so to speak. That could be a defense, though again it could be another hard sell.
These defenses could also be used pre-trial to try to convince prosecutors to lower or even drop the charges, or even to work out a plea bargain. The assistance of an experienced attorney is absolutely vital.
Hit-and-Run Defense Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
Before even answering questions from law enforcement and/or prosecutors when you’re being investigated for a hit and run, contact me immediately. We need to protect your rights. Authorities must read you your Miranda Rights, which state that “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” So, bringing in legal representation from the very start is important.
If you’re being investigated for, or charged with, a hit and run in or around Omaha, Nebraska, contact me, Greg Nelson Attorney at Law, immediately.