Hit And Run FAQs
1. What is the law that makes a Hit and Run unlawful in Los Angeles?
The law for a Hit and Run in Los Angeles is found under the Vehicle Code, §§20002 and 20003.
2. Can I be charged with a Hit and Run if there is little or no damage to the property?
A Hit and Run is unlawful in Los Angeles not because of the extent of damage to property, or injury to person, but because the person who caused the injury or damage left without taking proper steps or leaving proper contact information. Thus, even if there is barely any damage, but you have left the scene, you can be charged with a Hit and Run. However, if there is little damage, then the corresponding sentence and level or charges may be lower.
3. Can I avoid being charged with a Hit and Run?
With proper argument and negotiations, you can avoid being formally charged with a Hit and Run. However, to ensure the best possible chances to avoid Hit and Run charges, you should employ a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer. A lawyer who has handled thousands of Hit and Run cases knows exactly how to present their case and evidence, including preparing a Civil Compromise, to persuade prosecutors to not file charges against you.
4. Can police officers file Hit and Run charges?
Police officers do not have authority to file Hit and Run charges against a person, only prosecutors, like the District Attorney or City Attorney can. Officers, however, have the ability to persuade prosecutors to file charges by what they state in their report. An officer will conduct and investigation into the facts of the incident, and evidence, and will prepare a report for prosecutors to read. Prosecutors use the report to determine whether charges should be filed, or if the case should be dismissed.
5. Can I be charged with a Hit and Run if the accident is not my fault?
Absolutely. As referenced herein, a Hit and Run is unlawful because of the person’s failure to administer help, or to leave proper contact information. It is not because they were at fault in causing the accident, or damage to property. That is an issue for insurance companies to sort out, and to argue in a civil case, if any.
6. What role does the other party play in charges being filed against me?
The other party includes the party that may have been injured or whose property may have been damaged. This party has the ability to give a statement. Their statement will be reviewed by prosecutors when determining what files should be charged, if any. That is why discussions and negotiations with the aggrieved party are crucial, as their statement may be angry and hurt due to the charged party’s failure to act, or understanding and agreeable to dropping charges.
7. What do police officers feel are good excuses for a driver leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging information with the other party?
Officers may be sympathetic when reasons a person leaves a scene without providing information is for emergencies or fear. For example, the other party is angry and violent and the person who caused damage or injury feels threatened for their safety. Some reasons officers feel are not sufficient, is if you are late, or if you have no money, or no insurance.
8. What is the difference between misdemeanor and felony Hit and Run?
A misdemeanor Hit and Run is filed when injuries or damage is minimal. A felony is filed when the injuries or damage are extensive or long lasting. A misdemeanor carries with it a lower sentence than a felony. A felony can include a prison sentence. Whether a Hit and Run is filed as a misdemeanor or felony is up to the prosecutors.
9. How can cooperation play a role in a Hit and Run Offense?
If you approach officers shortly after a Hit and Run offense, and are cooperative, it could greatly help officers write a favorable report, as well as a favorable statement from the other party. This in turn could help prosecutors dismiss charges. If you are proactive and make amends right away, it can be beneficial in terms or argument and negotiations with prosecutors. However, you must be careful what statements are given and what steps are taken, as anything you do or say can be used as evidence against you in your case, if charges move forward. This is why it is crucial to have a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer guiding you.
10. Should I turn myself into the police department after a Hit and Run?
This follows along the same lines as cooperating after a Hit and Run. You should consult and engage the services of an experienced and knowledgeable Hit and Run lawyer prior to taking any steps of turning yourself in. In certain circumstances you can be arrested, and you want to ensure that you have proper defenses and arguments available. Turning yourself in does work towards cooperation, and if properly done, it works to help alleviate charges against you.
11. What is a civil compromise and how can it affect Hit and Run Charges?
A Civil Compromise is essentially an agreement between the party who caused damage or injury, and the aggrieved party. It states that the party who caused damage or injury made amends, paid restitution or took other steps to make the injured party whole. The aggrieved party then agrees that they no longer wish to press charges, and are no longer suffering from financial constraints due to the hit and run. This helps persuade prosecutors to avoid filing charges, as there is no more injury or damage.
12. Can I avoid being arrested for a Hit and Run after leaving the scene of an accident without leaving information?
There are chances you can avoid being arrested, if you are able to present the right argument and evidence. This includes building a strong and sufficient defense. A Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer has the criminal background and knowledge to know which defenses are strong and which would be weak. They also know how to present the right evidence in a manner that supports the right defense.
13. My car was being impounded after hit and run and held for evidence what should I do to get my car released?
The best steps to take is to contact a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer. The lawyer has handled thousands of hit and run cases and knows exactly what it will take to retrieve your vehicle and get it resolved as soon as possible. Oftentimes officers will drag their feet or delay the retrieval of your vehicle. Having an attorney who knows the process and the system on your team ensures that you get it resolved as soon as possible.