“It Was an Accident.” When Do You Need a Columbus Criminal Lawyer?
It might feel like a lose-lose situation, but there are options when you find yourself in an auto accident.
On Oct. 27, Juan J. Ruiz was driving on I-670 when he crashed into a Toyota Camry. The Camry, in turn, crashed into the guardrail, killing the driver, 37-year-old David E. Hertz.
Ruiz left the scene but was apprehended later, and was charged with a felony count of failing to stop after an accident.
While the cause of this specific accident has not yet been determined, there are a few things you should know about the legal ramifications of serious auto accidents in general.
The potential fallout
So far, Ruiz has only been charged with a felony count of failing to stop after an accident. However, since the driver of the vehicle he struck was killed, he could be facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter (killing another person through illegal operation of vehicle, such as speeding, reckless driving, drunk driving, or negligence). This differs from vehicular homicide, which occurs when a driver intentionally kills another person with their vehicle
A few other variables that might come up in this case include:
- If Ruiz was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- If he fell asleep at the wheel
- If he was driving with a suspended license
It’s also possible that Ruiz may be cleared of vehicular manslaughter if the investigation finds mechanical error or some other root cause that resulted in his vehicle striking Hertz’s Camry. However, since he left the scene of the accident, he will still be charged with a felony for failing to stop.
Staying alert when driving
Nobody wants to be the cause of an automobile accident. The bast way you can accomplish this is by staying alert while driving, and eliminating as many distractions as possible.
- Don’t drive when tired: The accident involving Ruiz and Hertz happened just before 2:30 a.m. While this hasn’t been named as a cause of the incident, driving late at night for long distances can lead to drowsiness. If possible, don’t take long trips during your normal sleeping hours. If your eyes feel heavy, find somewhere to pull over and rest until you’re awake and alert enough to safely continue driving.
- Don’t text and drive: Not only is texting and driving illegal, it’s extremely dangerous. In fact, some studies show that texting while driving is even more dangerous than driving drunk.
- Don’t drive under the influence: This is common sense. Everyone knows drinking and driving is against the law, but unfortunately, people still do it. On average, 11,000 people die in America every year in DUI-related accidents. The solution is simple–never drink and drive.
Immediately consult a Columbus criminal attorney
When an accident occurs, it’s easy to panic. Your mind quickly reels at the thought of all the potential consequences, and sometimes your fight or flight instincts kick in. However, the repercussions will always be worse if you flee. That’s why, regardless of severity or cause, you should never leave the scene of an accident you were involved in.
Instead, call one of Yavitch & Palmer’s experienced, professional criminal attorneys. They’ll listen to your description of the events that took place, work through every detail of your case, and do everything they can to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Contact Yavitch & Palmer today at 614-224-6142, or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our Downtown Columbus office.