In an Effort to Evade Responsibility, Guilty Driver Claims Georgia Hit and Run Law as Unconstitutional, but State Supreme Court Disagrees
The Georgia hit and run law OCGA § 40–6–270(a) is not unconstitutional, according to a State Supreme Court of Georgia ruling.
In fact, it could be argued that when 44 year old Walter E. Bell chose to drive recklessly while McMillan-Gutierrez was traveling on Georgia 400 two years ago when Walter Bell suddenly changed lanes in front of her, causing her to lose control of her vehicle and forcing her off the road where she crashed into a tree. She was taken to a hospital where she later died.
Walter Bell fled the scene of the accident, and was only caught because a witness followed him and wrote down his license plate number.
After conviction, Bell appealed, claiming Georgia’s hit and run statute violated his constitutional rights since stopping at the scene would identify him as the at-fault driver and disclosure of his name and address would make it impossible to avoid self-incrimination.
In a unanimous decision, the Georgia Supreme Court found Bell’s claim to be without merit under the United States Constitution as well as the Georgia Constitution. Citing California v. Byers, 402 U.S. 424, 91 S.Ct. 1535, 29 L.Ed.2d 9 (1971), it reasoned that involvement in an accident did not automatically presume incrimination, and that the statutory purpose of the law itself is for regulatory purposes and therefore a “neutral act”.
You Don’t Have to Deal With the Evasive Tactics of At-Fault Drivers and Their Insurers. Hire an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney to Represent Your Interests
Families who lose loved ones to catastrophic motor vehicle accidents face incredible hardships, from loss of companionship and financial contribution to medical expenses leading up to the victim’s death and the funeral expenses incurred afterward.
While wrongdoers and insurers work hard to find new ways to evade responsibility, victims of west Georgia hit and run accidents should work just as hard to make them compensate for losses suffered. Unfortunately, pain, suffering, and the shock of medical bills can render victims and their loved ones immobile. A Douglasville wrongful death attorney with experience in dealing with insurers’ tactics and who possesses a full understanding of victims’ rights under Georgia vehicular law makes the process easier.
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