Jared Gregor Tortz was arrested in Sonoma County on suspicion of hit and run and driving under the influence.  According to witnesses, Mr. Tortz was driving in Rohnert Park through Raley’s parking lot on State Farm Drive at about 3:44 p.m. on May 21, 2013 when he struck a parked car and then drove away from the scene.  Mr. Tortz was arrested after being given a DUI test.  This is not the first time Mr. Tortz has been arrested in connection with alcohol related offenses or hit and run. car crash

Hit and Run

It appears that the incident Mr. Tortz was arrested for does not involve your regular misdemeanor DUI.  He can also be charged with hit and run.  To prove that the Mr. Tortz is guilty of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that while driving, Mr. Tortz was involved in a vehicle accident, and that the accident caused damage to someone else’s property.  The prosecution must also prove that Mr. Tortz knew that he had been involved in an accident that caused property damage, and that Mr. Tortz “willfully” failed either to immediately stop at the scene of the accident, or to immediately provide the owner or person in control of the damaged property with his name and current residence address.  Mr. Tortz was permitted to provide the required information in one of two ways; he could have located the owner or person in control of the damaged vehicle and given that person the information directly. If requested, Mr. Tortz was required to show that person his or her driver’s license and the vehicle registration.  Alternatively, Mr. Tortz could have left the required information in a written note in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other damaged property. If Mr. Tortz had decided to provide the required information by leaving a note, he was also required to notify the Rohnert Park police department.

If Mr. Tortz is charged with hit and run, the prosecution is required to prove that Mr. Tortz “willfully” failed to fulfill the duties stated above.  Mr. Tortz committed an act willfully if he did it on purpose. It is not required that he intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.

Mr. Tortz’ duty to immediately stop means that he was required to stop his or her vehicle as soon as reasonably possible under the circumstances.  Mr. Tortz was required to perform the duties listed above regardless of how or why the accident happened. It did not matter if someone else caused the accident or if the accident was unavoidable.

In addition to the hit-and-run, Mr. Tortz can potentially be charged with DUI with a prior conviction if he has in fact been convicted of DUI in the past. This can lead to treatment of the DUI offense as a felony instead of a misdemeanor, which can lead to enhanced consequences, potentially including but not limited an increased minimum period of confinement, vehicle impoundment, sale of the vehicle as a nuisance, surrender of driver’s license, mandatory suspension or revocation of license, and being required to sign an affidavit acknowledging Mr. Tortz’ status as a habitual offender.

Obtaining help from an experienced DUI lawyer can mitigate against the possibility of having these serious consequences imposed upon an individual.  If you have been arrested for DUI in Sonoma County, Lake County, or Mendocino County, contact Beck Law, P.C. for a consultation to find out how our lawyers can minimize your risk of exposure.

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