There are hit and runs all over LA county. The police have so many cases that they have to deal with. That's actually one defense, that they're so overwhelmed and overworked as it relates to these hit and run cases that it takes them some time to actually investigate them and deal with them. There are two types of hit an run charges, either a misdemeanor or felony offense:
California Vehicle Code 2001 – Felony Hit and Run
California Vehicle Code 2002 – Misdemeanor
One strategy that the police have in a hit and run case is if you leave your vehicle at the scene, they will basically impound it and put a hold on it so that when you try to go get your vehicle, you're unable to get it out unless you go in and give a statement to the police.
Now you're in a bad position because now you're going to say some things that might incriminate yourself. That's when you have to get a lawyer involved. Let the lawyer call the police. Let them deal with the police.
You may end up going in to give a statement anyways, but you'll do it with your attorney present and knowing the differences and what all the possibilities are related to the case and you can make an informed, educated decision as to (1) whether you give a statement to the police regarding the hit and run; and (2) if you do give a statement, exactly what you're going to say and what type of a strategy you're going to take.
Experienced Attorney To Guide You Through The Process
To me, that's the first step in a hit and run case — once the police realize you're the one that did it or believe that they did it, now you have to get to an attorney because the attorney is going to help guide you through the process of dealing with the hit and run case.
If you do give a statement and if they do have the evidence that you were involved in a hit and run accident, the next thing that will happen in the process is the police are going to send the case to the prosecutors that have jurisdiction over the case where the accident occurred. The prosecutors will review the case and if they decide to file a charge against you, you're typically going to get a letter in the mail unless they decide to just come and arrest you. Once you get that letter you'll appear in court with your attorney and deal with your case.
If you become in a hit and run accident and there's a serious injury, what I've seen in that scenario is that the police will move and act much quicker. If they can figure out through your license plate, by way of eye witness testimony where you live, they're going to come looking for you, especially if somebody got hurt.
The police consider that a high priority hit and run. It will likely be charged as a felony hit and run. If a death occurs, obviously it's even much more serious and they're going to use much more precaution in trying to find you and they're going to be much more vicious as it relates to trying to find you — going to your work, your home, your family's house. The more serious the hit and run, the more likely the police are to come arrest you and put a bail on you.
So, if you or a loved one was involved in a hit and run accident in Los Angeles county, pick up the phone immediately. Set up an appointment. I've been doing this for twenty-five years. We'll figure out what the best strategy is moving forward for you.
I think that's one of the biggest things in a hit and run case, is figuring out from the beginning how you're going to handle the case — whether you're going to cooperate with the police or not, whether you're going to do any investigation on the case or whether or not it makes sense to do investigation on the case.
Dealing with Insurance Company
But, in figuring out what to do and how to steer the case you're going to want to have a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side helping you make that decision so you don't make any mistakes.
Another issue you have in a hit and run case is, you've got to deal with your insurance company. If you mess your own car up and you mess somebody else's car up, you obviously want your insurance company to pay for it, but if you don't cooperate with them and give them a statement, then they're not going to pay for anybody's damages. So, that's something else you want to discuss with your attorney. Get a strategy together and figure out exactly how you're going to deal with it.
So, when it comes to these hit and run cases in Los Angeles, there's a lot of what I would call moving parts. Meaning, there's a lot of stuff going on that you have to figure out how to deal with the right way and not make any mistakes that puts you in a worse position than you already are.
What I'm trying to do as your attorney is help you avoid going to jail; help you avoid saying anything that incriminates yourself; protect your rights, your freedom and your reputation.