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Los Angeles Criminal Lawyers Blog
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In order to be convicted of a Los Angeles Hit and Run under California Vehicle Code §20001- 20004, Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) there was damage to property and/or injury to person AND 2) the person who caused the damage to property or injury must have fled the scene without leaving any contact information.

Proving one element beyond a reasonable doubt will not be sufficient to find someone guilty of a Hit and Run. For example, let’s say that Danielle was driving home from work one night. She could not see too well due to the foggy and rainy weather, as a result she hit a fence. Danielle immediately stopped and spoke to the owner of the fence about making amends and fixing the damage.

Under this current fact pattern, Danielle cannot be found guilty of a Hit and Run because she stopped and spoke to the owners about making amends. Prosecutors will not be able to demonstrate that Danielle fled the scene , and therefore if Danielle is charged, the charges will have to be dismissed.

It is possible to be charged with a Hit and Run without ever having had any contact with another person or another person’s property. If your actions caused another to be involved in an accident, that resulted in damages or injury to another, and you failed to stop and provide aid or leave contact information, you can still be charged with a Hit and Run.

Let’s consider an example. Dina is driving home from work on night. It is late, the sun has already set and it is raining. Dina is in a rush to get home to make dinner and help her kids with their homework. In her stress, Dina almost misses her exit. She changes lanes last minute and make it in time. What Dina is not aware of is that in her rush to change lanes last minute, another car had to quickly change lanes to avoid Dina hitting him, and in so doing, he rear ended another car.

This is a Hit and Run, even though Dina did not actually have any contact with anyone else that resulted in damage to property or injury. Her actions caused another person to cause damage. Dina should have stopped and addressed the situation.

The fact that Dina was not even aware of the accident does not make a difference in terms of a Hit and Run. Under the California Vehicle Code she can be charged. Dina’s best bet would be to hire a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer, how has handled hundreds of no contact cases. The legal professional can prepare a strong argument and defenses so that the best case may be presented to the Judge. After hearing evidence from both sides, and skillful presentations as to Dina’s lack of any knowledge of an accident, the Judge may reconsider the charges. If you find yourself in a situation similar to this, do not take a risk on your future, contact an experienced, knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible .

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California Penal Code §647 lays out the many different scenarios in which a person can be charged for lewd conduct under the Penal Code. Under this code section, the most common charge an be found under CP §647(f), which reads in pertinent part as follows:

“Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way”

There are some very important components to this charge. The following must be present:

  1. They must not be able to exercise care for themselves or others and
  2. Obstruct or prevent the free use of any side walk or other public way, and
  3. This must be due to an intoxication of some type

Considering the elements required for this charge, prosecutors have a difficult case to prove. Lets consider some examples.

Donny is out with his friends at a nightclub. The nightclub has its entrance directly into an extensive parking lot. Donny has had a few drinks and is not driving that night. He is talking loudly and joking around with his girlfriend who is laughing along with him. They are walking along the parking lot to the entrance. Donny cannot be arrested under Lewd Conduct. He is intoxicated, but he is not a harm to himself nor is he obstructing any type of public walkway.

In contrast lets consider Dina. Dina has gone out with her friends to a local bar where she has had more than few drinks. The bar leads out onto a main street, along a sidewalk. After having a few drinks, Dina comes outside of the bar and starts yelling at her friends and people walking by. She eventually gets to a point where she is not letting people walk by without yelling at them. Dina could be charged and likely convicted of lewd and disorderly conduct.

A charge under this section can have long term consequences. It can be a humiliating charge and will have some social consequences as well. Fortunately, it is a charge that be argued against and with proper defenses may be dismissed. It is highly recommended that you seek the guidance and counseling of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer as soon as possible so that you can work with the lawyer to help prepare the best possible argument and strategy for your case. Do not delay, this could be the difference between having your case reduced or dismissed early on!


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A person will be charged with a Hit and Run in Los Angeles when they have cause injury or damage to person or property, and fled the scene without leaving contact information. Both of these elements must be present prior to charged being filed. For example, if there was no injury or damage to person or property then there is no Hit and Run, even if the driver left no contact information. Accordingly, if there is damage or injury, and the person left contact information, it is not the criminal charge of Hit and Run.

If there is a Hit and Run, and charges could be filed against a person, there are certain strategies and steps that can be utilized to help alleviate potential charges or severity of consequences. The longer a person’s property sits damaged, or a person remains injured with mounting health bills, the angrier a person will be come and look for retaliation. Let’s consider an example to demonstrate this concept.

Diana is driving home from work on a rainy night and cannot see too far in front of her car. As she is driving, she does not see a parked car, and hits it as she is driving. It is late and it is pouring so instead of stopping to leave her contact information, Diana goes straight home thinking she will visit the person the very next morning. However, Diana keeps getting busy and has work and other obligations that two weeks go by before she is able to visit the house. In those two weeks, the owner of the vehicle has gotten increasingly angrier to the damage, and the nerve to a person to not come forward and take liability. He has already called his insurance company and he has informed the police as to the Hit and Run. As a result, officers are already looking for Diana’s vehicle so that they can press charges.

If Diana had contacted the person whose car was damaged the next day she could have paid for damages as negotiated between the two of them without involving the insurance companies or the police. The person may also have been less angry about the damage and more willing to resolve it instead of staying angry. The angrier the person whose property is damaged gets may be more likely to seek legal counsel, and less likely to want to compromise or settle the matter without involving authorities.

Having a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer on your side can help mitigate the situation. The sooner you seek the legal help of a professional, the attorney can immediately contact the person who has been injured or whose property has been damaged and start negotiations. This can help alleviate the anger of the situation and allow for the person to be more amenable to settlement and reimbursement. This is beneficial as it will help you avoid criminal charges as much as possible. A Hit and run conviction can cause extensive damage to a person, not only financially, but to their reputation and career as well. Therefore, it is highly recommended that a person being charged seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney right away!

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A City Attorney Hearing is a good option to help dismiss potential charges against a person who is being charged with Domestic Violence. When a person has been arrested for having potentially committed a criminal offense, it is only an arrest, they have not yet been convicted or formally charged. The arresting officer will prepare a report on the arrest and the probable cause under which he arrested the person. Prosecutors will then review the report and determine if there is adequate evidence to take the matter to court and file formal charges. This is where a City Attorney Hearing can be very beneficial to a person being charged with Domestic Violence.

A City Attorney hearing is a hearing in which a person who may be charged appears at the prosecutors office to discuss the potential charges. Oftentimes the facts are unclear, or there is more information that needs to be sought for a prosecutor to make a determination on charges .Both the person potentially being charged and the victim will appear before the Prosecutor and will tell their side of the story. This will allow the Prosecutor to gather more information to help aid in making a determination of whether domestic violence charges should be filed.

Let’s consider an example. Veronica and David are husband and wife and get into an argument one night. During the argument Veronica asks David to toss her the remote control. David throws it at her intending for it to land near to her on the couch but misses and it hits Veronica in the face. Veronica shortly thereafter decides to cool off and is sitting on the front steps of the home holding a bag of ice to her face to calm the swelling. A neighbor, having heard the yelling and then having seen Veronica outside with the bruise on her face immediately calls the cops. Cops show up and arrest David for domestic violence. Thereafter, both Veronica and David appear at a City Attorney Hearing and tell their sides of the story, both of which corroborate that there was no domestic violence. The prosecutor having asked all the questions he had and gathering the information he needed is satisfied that it was in fact an accident, and there was no intention of harm or injury to the other. He then dismissed the charges.

If formal charges for domestic violence had been filed against David, there could be a lot of consequences to his job, and future employment. This can be very serious. Therefore, it is highly advisable to take every chance and every route possible to avoid charge if at all possible. An experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer can help provide the guidance you need to determine whether charges against you can be dismissed via a City Attorney Hearing. Do not take a risk on something as important as potential criminal charges, do everything you can to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself and your future.

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Unlike many offenses, a Hit and Run charge may be avoided completely if proper steps are taken soon after an arrest has been made.

When you are arrested for a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you have not yet been found guilty. The arresting officer will submit a report to the District Attorney, or City Attorney’s office. The relevant prosecutor will then review the facts and the evidence and will then make a determination if charges will be filed and a case will be started.

There are certain steps that can be taken after a person has been arrested and before formal charges have been brought that could potentially avoid any charges altogether.

An experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer is well versed in not only the steps to take to give a case the best possible chances of dismissal, but also knows the right people to contact to start the process.

One of the things a legal professional will do is contact the alleged victim. This would be the person that suffered and injury or property damage as a result of the Hit and Run. The attorney will offer a reimbursement, or restitution to make amends for the injury or damage. If the alleged victim is in agreement to accept restitution or reimbursement, then both parties will enter into a civil compromise. This civil compromise will then be presented to the prosecutor in a hope to alleviate the need to bring a case.

Lets consider an example to illustrate the concept.

Donna was driving home from a friend’s house at night one evening. It was raining hard and it was incredibly windy. Due to the fact that Donna had a hard time seeing anything, she hit a neighbor’s fence when she went to park her car in the driveway. Thinking she would just talk to the neighbor in the next day or two, Donna did not leave any contact information. Eventually the neighbors called the authorities and Donna was arrested for Hit and Run. Donna hired a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer, and he immediately contacted the neighbors. The attorney was able to determine the cost of repairing the fence, which Donna readily paid. Once the payment was made and the fence was fixed, the neighbors agreed to enter into a civil compromise stating that all damage was fixed and they were not going to be pursuing any further charges or cases against Donna. The lawyer then used this compromise to show the prosecutor that the case had been resolved, restitution had been made and that bringing charges against Donna would be a waste of time of the court’s resources.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it is important that you immediately contact a legal professional and take action before formal charges have been brought. A hit and run can have a big impact on your life and your education and career. Take all the steps you can take to ensure the case be dismissed or reduced.

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What causes people to feel the scene of an accident resulting in a Hit and Run charge?

The overall umbrella is fear. People are scared that they may suffer consequences on varying fields if they do not flee the scene. Some of these issues are minor in nature, and some are much bigger. Either way, being charged with a Hit and Run, especially with injury, is a much worse scenario than those feared by drivers who opt to flee the scene.

  1. Do not want a DUI

Many people flee the scene and do not stay to help administer help or leave contact information because they are driving while intoxicated and are afraid they will get charged with a Los Angeles DUI. If they are caught, and usually the driver is, they will not only be charged with a DUI, if it is within the adequate time period, they will also be charged with a Hit and Run.

  1. Probation Violations

Many people are on probation from a previous offense. The previous offense does not necessarily have to be a DUI, or a Hit and Run, it can be probation for any offense. Many of the offenses require probation as part of the sentence, and one of the terms of probation is that they are to avoid any unlawful activity. If they are charged with a Hit and Run, it will be a violation of their probation, and will be an additional charge on top of the Hit and Run. For this reason, many people are scared and try to flee the scene.

  1. No insurance

Oftentimes people will leave the scene because they do not have valid insurance and will be facing significant costs that they do not have the funds for.

  1. No valid Driver’s License

Many people are operating a vehicle with a suspended or restricted license, or without a valid license at all. There are criminal implications to driving without a valid license and would be an additional charge on top of the Hit and Run.

  1. No Money

Many times people are afraid that they will have to make restitution and they do not have the money to pay for damage or injury. They are also afraid they will be sued in civil court if they are unable to pay for the damage or injury.

There are many reasons people opt to leave the scene of an accident. The majority of reasons fall under the great umbrella of fear. However, what people do not realize is that fleeing the scene causes them more trouble than it would if they stayed and administered help and provided their contact information. People flee to avoid criminal charges, but if they are caught, and often they are, they not only face the criminal charges or costs they were afraid of, but additional charge and costs from the Hit and Run. If you find yourself in this situation, it is highly recommended that you seek the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer.

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In Part One of this blog, we discussed that there are two types of Probations; informal and formal. Further we started with a break down of the different types of ways probation can be violated. As stated in Part One, and reiterated here, a probation violation is its own separate charge. It is not a warning or an enhancement to another charge. It carries with it, its own case number, as well as its own sentencing. Having clarified that, let’s continue to explore the different ways probation can be violated.

  1. Failure to complete community service

Very much like the failure to complete classes, community service is a part of sentencing that must be completed in a timely manner. The court may give a date for the person sentenced to appear before the Court and confirm that they have completed their service, or the program they have used will submit a completion form to the Court for their records. If the person is required to appear, and fail to do so, a bench warrant may be issued against them for their arrest.

Ex. Dina has been charged with petty theft. The court offered her the option of paying restitution and a fine, or completing community service. Not having any money, Dina opted to complete 60 hours of community service. The court gave Dina a year to complete her service. After a year, Dina had only completed 45 hours, and did not finish her requirement. The program she was working with never submitted a proof of completion, as her service was not done. The court issued a probation violation against Dina.

  1. Failure to pay Fines

A majority of criminal offenses will include a fine in their sentencing. This fine is often tripled due to costs of penalties and assessments. However, the Court will give a date as to when the fine must be paid. If it is not paid this will constitute as a probation violation.

Ex. David was charged and convicted of a hit and run. As a part of his sentence he was ordered to pay a fine of $1,200.00. David failed to pay the fine by the time ordered by the court and failed to ask for an extension or alternatives. David was charged with a probation violation.

  1. Driving with any alcohol in the system after a Los Angeles DUI conviction

If you have been charged with a DUI, the probation terms will often include that you cannot drive a vehicle with any alcohol in your system, no matter how minimal. If you are caught doing so, the .08 BAC minimum will not apply to your case, and any alcohol will constitute a DUI.

Ex. Don was charged and convicted of a first offense DUI. He was sentenced to three years informal probation, as a part of it, the Court ordered that he could not drive with any alcohol in his system. A year later, Don had a beer at his friend’s place and drove home. He was stopped and submitted to a blood alcohol test. His BAC was .03. Even though this may not constitute a DUI violation in normal circumstances, in Don’s case it will, because he was under strict probationary rules.

If you are facing probation violation charges, do not take them lightly. Seek the help of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible!

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If you have been arrested and convicted for a Los Angeles Criminal Offense, chances are as a part of your sentencing the Judge ordered probation. There are two types of probation in a criminal case; informal and formal. If you have been ordered to have formal probation, it means that you must report to a probation officer regularly, and there are certain other restrictions against traveling, and substance use or otherwise. If you have informal probation, you do not have to check in with an officer, but there are certain stipulations, such as not committing another crime during your time on probation, that will be a part of your probation orders.

It is important to understand that a probation violation is its own offense. It is not a warning, or a citation, but can be a misdemeanor offense that must be dealt with like any other criminal offense. Oftentimes, it will come along with another offense such as petty theft or a DUI. Let’s consider a few ways that you can violate informal probation.

  1. Committing another crime

As a part of all informal probation orders, the Judge will require that you do not commit any further crimes. This is not limited to the crime you have been convicted of. If you commit any additional crimes, you will not only be charged for the additional crime, but will also have a probation violation charge.

Ex: Donny is convicted of a DUI, and as a part of the sentence the Judge ordered three years summary (informal) probation. One year after his sentencing, Donny is arrested and charged with petty theft. He will be charged with not only petty theft, but probation violation because he was still on informal probation.

  1. Failure to complete education or rehabilitation classes

Oftentimes as a part of some offenses, the person charged will be required to complete education or rehabilitation classes. These include classes such as narcotics anonymous for drug offenses, batterers intervention or anger management for assault or domestic violence cases, and alcoholics anonymous for DUIs. The court will often give a date of completion when the person completing the classes must appear in court and provide the Court with a proof of completion. If they have not done this, or fail to appear, it will be considered a probation violation, and could also result in a bench warrant.

Ex. Danielle is charged with a Los Angeles DUI. As a part of her sentencing, the court orders that she complete three months of alcohol rehabilitation classes and sets a date for Danielle to return to court three months later to present her proof of completion. Danielle is in a car accident and is unable to complete her classes. She does not finish the three months, and does not appear in court to explain why she was unable to complete the classes. She is not only charged with a probation violation, but she has also failed to appear in court, resulting in a bench warrant being issued for her arrest.

There are many ways probation can be violated. It is important to understand that this is its own separate offense and can result in additional sentencing. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to seek the help of a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible!

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If you have been charged with a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you will get a citation which will state the date, time and location of the courthouse at which you will have to appear. This appearance is not optional, or per your convenience. You have to appear in court on that date, or have an attorney appear on your behalf. An attorney can only appear on your behalf if it is not a felony hit and run. It has to be a misdemeanor and not fall under one of the exceptions in which the person being charged must also appear. This first court appearance is referred to as the Arraignment.

At the arraignment there are several things that will takes place:

1. The court shall read you the charges against you.

The charge will likely be under California Vehicle Code §20001, 20002 or 20003. They will explain what the charges mean and what you are being accused of. This does not mean that you have been found guilty, or that you have committed these acts, it merely means that the government has probable cause to believe that you can be found guilty of these charges.

2. The Court will read you your rights Under the United States Constitution, you are afforded certain rights.

These rights are established to protect you and your freedom. In essence, the government must make sure that careful steps are taken to ensure that you have a voice, that you are heard, and you are given a fair chance to defend yourself, before you are found guilty.

3. The Prosecutor will offer you a plea bargain

A plea bargain is an offer, which is usually a lesser charge or sentence, if you agree to plead guilty that day and conclude your case. A plea bargain is not always a good offer, and is one that must be considered in light of the facts of your case, knowledge of the Judge, and the nature of Prosecutor. This is why it is beneficial to hire a Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney who is familiar with the courtroom and the Judge. They should take the time to review the facts, and the available defenses and arguments to determine whether it is a good offer and in your best interest to take it, or if it is better to argue and negotiate the offer.

4. Right to continue the matter

An arraignment may be continued once, up to thirty days. There are many reasons to continue an Arraignment. You may want to get an attorney, and have not yet found one that you want to represent you. You have a right to counsel, and you have a right to find that counsel. If you indicate to the court that you would like to retain an attorney, and have not yet done so, they will give you the thirty day continuance. In any situation, be prepared for what will happen at an Arraignment. Be ready to provide the Judge with the information that is needed and requested, and if you plan to hire a legal professional it is a good idea to have one retained prior to the hearing.

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A person can be charged under California Penal Code §273.5 a person can be charged with domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as when a person “who willfully inflicts corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition”. The action must be taken against the offender’s spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, fiancé or fiancée, or someone the person has an engagement with or is or was dating.

There has to be a relationship between the two people otherwise, it is not considered domestic violence. It used to be that a person who alleged domestic violence would file charges, and then if chose to do so, could withdraw their allegations. However, once domestic violence is suspected, or a person has been arrested, you cannot chose to withdraw charges. Only the District Attorney, or City Attorney’s office can dismiss the charges.

Therefore, it is important to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney is you have been charged with domestic violence. There are available defenses and it is important to discuss all possible arguments available to you. Furthermore, a conviction of domestic violence can have significant consequences to a dissolution or family law case, and can also have an impact on an immigration case. A person who is found guilty of domestic violence can be facing up to four years in prison, or up to one year in county jail. In addition, they can face a fine up to six thousand dollars, or both a fine and imprisonment.

Domestic violence cases are difficult because they have the highest rate of recantation of testimony. Many of the witnesses or evidence comes from the victim, which has a close relationship with the offender. This explains why many people chose to change their testimony, or even refuse to testify in the criminal trial or proceedings. This makes it difficult for the government to make their case, but it can also work in their favor, if they present it in the proper light. This is why it is so important to have a legal professional that is fully prepared and experienced to present all the facts and evidence to the court to ensure that the charge is dismissed, or in the very least reduced. If you are involved in a family law proceeding, things can get contentions and it is in your best interest to fully fight the domestic violence charge to the best of your ability. If you have been charged, and convicted of a domestic violence charge, it could have a direct impact on your right to spousal support as well as your custody and visitation rights. Do not hesitate. Seek an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney that will be sure to fight for you and your rights!