What to Do After Hitting a Pedestrian in Mississippi

It is all too easy to let your emotions get the better of you after hitting a pedestrian in Mississippi. This can be one of the most shocking incidents a motorist can experience, and you may feel unsure of how to react. Unlike colliding with another vehicle, there is something inherently more violent and horrific about hitting a human being. Despite these nerve-wracking elements, however, it is important to react in a calm, professional manner. If you do not react carefully, you could face various criminal charges – including hit-and-run, aggravated DUI, or even manslaughter.

Pull Over

After striking a pedestrian, you should pull over as soon as possible. If you continue driving, you could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. In the case of a serious injury or death, this can easily lead to felony charges in Mississippi. That being said, it is important to pull over in a safe location. If you need to drive a few hundred yards before pulling over, you are perfectly justified in doing so. Parking in an unsafe location will only put you in danger, especially if you are on a dark highway or blind corner. The police will not hold this against you, and it is not illegal to drive a reasonable distance in search of a safe spot.

Call 911

After pulling over, you should dial 911. Explain the situation and provide your location. During this initial call, it is important to avoid admitting fault. You can simply say that there has been a traffic collision, and that a pedestrian is injured at your location. From there, you can hang up and wait for first responders to arrive. If you do not have a functioning phone, you may need to flag down another driver and instruct them to call 911. However, you should be very careful when exiting your vehicle. Although it might feel tempting to rush to the pedestrian’s aid, this could expose you to passing vehicles. If you are on a busy or dark road, it might be best to remain in your vehicle. This is especially true if you are not qualified to administer medical aid. 

Cooperate With Police

After first responders arrive, police will undoubtedly attempt to question you about the incident. Remember, you have the right to remain silent in this situation. Not only that, but the Fifth Amendment ensures that your silence is not a sign of guilt. If you do communicate with police officers, do not admit fault. If you believe that the pedestrian in question ran into the middle of the road without warning or jaywalked, you could inform police officers of these facts. 

However, you should know that there is absolutely no obligation to reveal the details of the incident. The benefits of making these statements are questionable, as police officers will probably come to the same conclusions with their own independent investigations. If the pedestrian was truly jaywalking, it should be relatively obvious. For example, you might have struck a pedestrian on a highway – where there are no crosswalks. 

You can still cooperate with police officers even if you do not answer their questions. Be polite and follow directions to the greatest extent possible (without incriminating yourself). Note that police officers will probably ask you to carry out some kind of alcohol test. This could be a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) or a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). You should know that you are under no obligation to carry out these tests unless you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI. A breath test is considered a form of search under the Fourth Amendment, and police officers need probable cause to conduct these “searches.” 

Even if you were intoxicated when you struck the pedestrian, it may not necessarily result in an aggravated DUI. In Mississippi, you can only face penalties for aggravated DUI if you cause a serious injury or death in a “negligent manner.” In other words, you must have committed some kind of traffic infraction in addition to your DUI. If someone dashed in front of your vehicle without warning while you were driving normally, your intoxication may not be a factor. 

Contact Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Today

After you pull over and call the police, hang up and dial a criminal defense lawyer. This type of incident can easily lead to criminal charges if you are not careful, and Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. can guide you through the next few steps. A consultation can provide you with greater confidence about the future. With our help, you can avoid making simple mistakes, fight for your rights, and push back against excessive criminal charges. Contact us today to get started.

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