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Hit & Run



Hit And Run In Los Angeles – Vehicle Code Section 20001, The Difference Between Property Damage And Injury

When it comes to hit and run accidents, there’s a number of important issues that have to be grappled with as a criminal defense attorney when you’re defending a client. One of the biggest ones is whether or not the hit and run caused just property damage or also caused injury as well. Obviously, if there is an injury involved, the prosecutors are going to be much more harsh on how they deal with the case. There also may be a civil suit that gets filed against the person that will have to be resolved.

Hit & RunAs far as how a hit and run is handled where there is an injury involved versus property damage, a lot of times injury cases are going to be filed as felonies and the person will potentially be facing prison times, versus if it is just a property damage case, many times these cases are going to be filed as misdemeanors. We can usually keep the person out of jail and a lot of times we can even utilize other alternative sentences – such as civil compromises, diversion programs, different charges from a hit and run – there’s all sorts of things that can be done if the hit and run accident in Los Angeles only involves property damage.

If it’s a situation where an injury or death is involved with the hit and run, the prosecutors will usually assign that case to a more seasoned prosecutor and they will be looking to compensate the victim for their injuries and punish the defendant for their activities. If there’s alcohol or any type of substance abuse problem available at the time of the arrest, then the person who is usually alcohol or any other substance who is impaired and gets in a hit and run will usually have additional allegations filed against them and be looking at additional punishment.

If there’s a death involved in a hit and run accident, and someone is using some sort of an intoxicant while they are driving, then that person could be facing a murder charge and be looking at up to 15 to life in prison. The reason that the prosecutors have such a serious charge for this is because they believe people in today’s society know that if they drink and drive then somebody could die and if they run somebody over, kill them, and then leave the scene of the accident – in addition to be charged with a felony hit and run with injury, they’ll also be likely charged with attempted murder and be facing a potential lifetime in prison. I’ve done a lot of these cases recently and the prosecution in LA county’s charging policy has changed over the years. Now, because of the internet and society and everything that’s out there regarding hit and run accidents, death-related accidents, texting and driving – the prosecutors take a very harsh position and the first thing they’re going to do if somebody is using not only alcohol, but any other intoxicant drugs, prescription medication, marijuana, people are huffing things from cans – any of that stuff that causes a person to not be able to safely operate a motor vehicle and they do a hit and run accident and kill somebody – the first thing they’re going to do is charge that person with murder. Now they may mitigate down to something lesser later on if they think that that’s the right thing to do once they look at all the factors related to the hit and run accident.

But obviously, nobody wants to take that chance in the first place of being charged with such a serious crime – being facing 15 to life – this gives the prosecutors a huge hammer and what normally would be just a normal hit and run case, once they throw that murder charge on there, now the person is in a very difficult position because if they fight the case and if they’re not very sympathetic towards a jury, they could fight the case and lose and then the judge would have no choice but to give them 15 to life if they’re convicted of second degree murder related to a fatality regarding a hit and run accident in LA.

So, what I have people do who have been involved in hit and run accidents – whether they are property damage related or there’s just an injury, soft tissue injury, serious injury or even a death – is I have them come into the office and we talk about what happened. Obviously, we’re going to be under the cloak of the attorney-client privilege. Everything will be confidential, this way the person can feel free to talk and let me know what really happened, so we can really get down to the nitty gritty of what type of defense we’re going to assert in this hit and run case and what we can do to get the best possible result. Once a client has a sense of what is going to happen, what they can do to help in the case, what I’m going to do to get them the best result, this usually brings about a sense of calm and peace and control back to the case and you can put everything into defending your hit and run case with a successful result.

LEARN YOUR BEST STRATEGY IF YOU WERE INVOLVED IN A HIT AND RUN INCIDENT

Your first move should be to set up a face to face meeting with an attorney who is local to the jurisdiction where the subject hit and run occurred and let them guide you through the process of dealing with your case with an eye towards a successful resolution. When I meet with the client, I am looking to understand what happened and why it happened. Once I have this information, then we will see what positive things we have in our favor and start to put together the plan for success. For example, if you had insurance at the time of the accident then we can assist in fixing the other parties vehicle and see if they are willing to enter into a civil compromise with us. If we can convince the prosecutors to dismiss the case if the other party signs off on a civil compromise, then your hit and run is dealt with and your record is preserved.

There are many different scenarios when it comes to a hit and run case. If someone was hurt during the hit and run accident, then the case will be dealt with in a more serious manner and the person involved may be facing a felony and jail or prison time, depending on the extent of the injuries to the other party. In this situation, it is crucial that you meet with an attorney so we can start the process of damage control and make the moves early that will reap dividends at the end of your case. The key is not letting things spiral out of control by inactivity and permitting the police to put together the case, get it to the prosecutors and then have the upper hand on you. This is when they arrest you and really try and stick it to you. This is where we need to come in and make the right moves at the right time for maximum benefit.

Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer

Did you get in an accident? Did you leave the scene? You can be charged with a hit and run!

We hear about it almost every day in the news, a hit and run accident involving a collision with another car, a child riding a bike or a family crossing the street. A hit and run occurs when a person is driving his or her car and hits another vehicle, a person or object, and they do not stop. California law requires that if you are involved in any type of accident, you must stop and provide proper identification to law enforcement or the other people involved in the accident. Many people may become scared and run, sometimes due to the serious nature of the accident, their immigration status, lack of insurance, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a variety other reasons.

California Vehicle Code § 20001 states that the driver of a vehicle that gets into an accident which results in injury or death of another person has to immediately stop at the scene of the accident and abide by certain requirements such as: give his or her name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and has to give the information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.

As you might guess, each case spins on its own facts and in order to make the right moves, we need to know where we stand and the extent of the damage we need to control. There are some amazing things that can be done with the right case and the right strategy. And, there are some huge issues that can be avoided by acting quickly and in such a way that law enforcement, the prosecutor and the judge realize you are trying to make things right and not attempting to shirk your responsibility for what happened. You advocate in a hit and run case is the one who set the plan and then tells you what you can do in order to have a successful outcome in your case.

To convict you of a hit and run the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were involved in the accident; that you knew an accident occurred; that you knew someone was injured/killed or that the accident was of such a nature that it would be probable that someone would be injured/killed; and that you failed to abide in the requirements above.

As your defense attorney, our goal is to protect you and to assert any and all defenses applicable to your case.

We can help you if you are under investigation for or have been accused of a hit and run. We can speak to police on your behalf. Our lawyers will listen to your side of the story and can help build a strong proper defense for your case. You can feel secure in knowing that we are here for you and we will make every effort to keep you out of jail.

If convicted of a hit and run in California, depending on the seriousness of your case and if any one died as a result of the accident, you could be facing a vehicular manslaughter charge in addition to severe penalties which may include the following:

  • Up to 9 years to life in prison
  • Felony charge
  • Up to $10,000 fine
  • Revocation of your driver’s license
  • Impoundment of your vehicle
  • DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) school
  • Points on DMV record
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Criminal record for life

Contact a Hit and Run and DUI Defense Lawyer

By hiring a professional lawyer, you give yourself the opportunity to receive only a minimal sentence, possibly avoiding jail time altogether. We understand all areas of DMV and criminal law and we will look for every opportunity to maintain your freedom. Contact our office today to speak with a knowledgeable defense attorney at: (213) 374-3952.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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