For a person to be found guilty of a Hit and Run, the court must first find that the person is guilty of each of the elements of a Hit and Run. The court must prove that there is beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed each of the acts requisite for a hit and run.
A hit and run requires two elements. There must be damage or injury to person or property, and the person must have fled the scene without leaving any contact information. Notice one important element is missing in a hit and run that is required in most criminal cases: intent.
In a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you do not need to have any intent to leave the scene without leaving contact information, all you have to do is leave the scene. This is a great weakness in many cases because oftentimes people mistakenly believe that their intent is a defense to the Hit and Run charge. This is not true, and despite the intent, a person may still be found guilty of a Hit and Run.
Let’s analyze a hypothetical situation to understand the role of intent in a Hit and Run case.
Donna is driving home from a party late at night. It is raining really hard and it is extremely foggy so she is having a hard time seeing where she is going. Her cell phone battery is dead and she is unable to make any calls. While she is driving home, she accidentally hits a parked car. She jots down the license plate number and plans to drive home and call the DMV the next morning to get in touch with the owner of the car. Her thinking is that it is raining and any note she leaves will not be there in the morning, and she is unable to call the DMV because it is late. She is also unable to make any calls because her cell phone is dead.
Donna goes home and wakes up the next morning. She is arrested for a hit and run. Donna had no intention to leave the scene and fail to make any amends to the injured party. She fully planned to call the DMV and get contact information for the owner and give them her information so that she may fix the damage. Unfortunately, in a hit and run, her intent does not matter. What matters is that 1) there was damage to property or injury to person and 2) the person fled the scene.
Here, Donna did damage the parked car and she left the scene. For all criminal proceeding purposes, Donna may be found guilty of a Hit and Run. A Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer can present the facts in the right light, andsaddress the surrounding circumstances and intent to negotiate with Prosecutors so that Donna gets a dismissal or reduction. However , if the court were to base the argument on law alone, Donna may not win. It is necessary to hire a lawyer who has plenty of experience, knows the Prosecutors and Judges so that they can efficiently negotiation.