When the driver of the Altima struck a man on his bicycle, she didn’t bother to stop. The police caught up with her in South Carolina a day later.
The bicyclist was treated at WakeMed. The driver is being held in the Wake County jail in lieu of $26,000 bail.
The driver was driving without a license at the time of the accident. She had been arrested a couple of days earlier for driving while impaired and having unsealed wine or liquor in the passenger compartment of her car. The court revoked her license the next day.
She now faces a felony hit-and-run charge, as well as one count of driving with a revoked license.
Under North Carolina law, a driver can be charged with hit-and-run if he or she is involved in a motor vehicle accident and fails to do the following:
- Stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the crash
- Stay with the car until the police or state patrol has completed the invesgitation and has authorized the driver to leave
If the accident results in serious bodily injury or death, hit-and-run is a Class F felony. The penalties are as much as 20 years in prison as well as a fine. If there is a less serious injury, the charges are reduced to a Class H felony, which carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence (and a fine).
Passengers have the same obligations — to remain at the scene and stay with the vehicle — in an accident that results in serious injury or death. Leaving the scene of the accident is a Class H felony. If the accident only causes property damage, or if there is a serious injury or death that the passenger could not have reasonably been aware of, the offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which translates into a maximum of 120 days in jail.
The court can revoke a driver’s license for a lot of different reasons. For example, if a driver refuses a blood alcohol test when stopped by a law enforcement officer, the court will revoke the license immediately. If a driver is convicted of speeding — going more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit or exceeding 80 miles per hour — the court will revoke the license but may grant limited driving privileges.
Driving with an open container is a Class 3 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 30 days in jail. Driving after revocation is a Class 1 misdemeanor and added time of revocation. For the first offense, one year is added; the second, two years; the third offense, permanent revocation.
Anyone who has been charged with any of these crimes should talk to an attorney.
Resource: Raleigh News & Observer “Driver in Hit-Run Case Had Lost License” 9/11/10