Articles Posted in Hit and Run

If you have been arrested for the suspicion of having committed a Hit and Run in Los Angeles, it is important to remember that you have not yet been convicted. In order to be convicted a plea must be entered by either you or finding must be made by a jury. During the period between charges being pressed against and a conviction actually being found, there is lots of room for negotiation and reduction of charges.

Certain actions you take during this period of time can help strengthen your case for dismissal or reduced charges, and certain actions you take can make the situation worse. That is why retaining a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer early on in the case is helpful. A legal expert will know exactly what steps to take and how to guide you so that you act only in a manner that increases your chances of dismissal and reduction.

One important aspect action that many of our clients take that can help make or break their case is in statements they give to police officers, their own insurance company, and the other party’s insurance company. These statements are extremely important and should be made carefully, after consulting with an attorney.

If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles Hit and Run it is highly advisable to seek the guidance and knowledge of an experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer. Consulting a lawyer immediately can help minimize the potential consequences as much as possible.

When you are arrested for a Hit and Run, you have not yet been charged. There are many things you can do to avoid charges with the help of an attorney. If you have already been charged there are certain potential consequences you may face, many of which may be lessened with the help of an attorney.

  1. Jail Time

Generally, the nature of a Los Angeles Hit and Run is that the person who allegedly committed the crime is not at the scene. Officers have to piece together evidence from the scene and witnesses to find the alleged perpetrator of the Hit and Run. Oftentimes they can be wrong, and may suspect the wrong person. They will contact the person they believed to have committed the offense in several different ways.

  1. Phone call

The police department may contact you via telephone and request that you come down to the station to speak to them. Even if you are not the correct suspect, and have done nothing wrong, you should strongly consider having a Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney with you when you go down to the station. It might be a misunderstanding, officers may believe you are a witness, or may have evidence that can be rebutted by your statement.  Regardless, it is important to have an attorney with you so that you do not make any incriminating statements. Any statements that you may make during your meeting with the officers, despite your good intentions, can still be used against you if the matter goes to Court.

If you have been charged with a Los Angeles Hit and Run, it is a good idea to be proactive in getting those charges dismissed, or reduced, rather than being reactive.

What do I mean about being proactive versus reactive? People will often receive a letter or visit  from the police department stating that they would like to talk to the person regarding a possible Hit and Run. It is generally after the fact that officers may investigate a hit and run after it has been reported. Waiting until the point that officers contact you to respond to the allegations can possibly hurt you later in the case, if charges are filed. This is what I mean by being reactive. You are reacting to actions taken by the police department.

In contrast, being proactive means taking action before you are contacted by authorities. The  first and foremost step you must take in this situation is to contact and retain a Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney. This lawyer has extensive experience with Hit and Run cases, and the courthouses and police departments in Los Angeles. The lawyer will immediately begin to take steps to work on your case with only one goal in mind; to get you case dismissed or in the very least, reduced. The following are strategic steps an attorney will take to achieve their goal.

If you believe you may be liable for a Hit and Run, or if you have received a notice from the Police Department requesting an interview with you about an alleged Hit and Run, the first thing you should do is contact a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer.

An experienced attorney has handled hundreds of Hit and Run cases in Los Angeles and knows the steps needed to be taken immediately to mitigate the consequences. There are also available defenses that could be strong arguments in your favor, if the case is prepared early on and as soon as possible.

According to California Vehicle Code §20002 if a drive of a vehicle is involved in an accident that results in injury or death, the driver of the vehicle must provide the following information to the person who is struck in the accident or any owner or occupants of a vehicle that was struck as well as a traffic officer present at the scene:

After an alleged Los Angeles Hit and Run, officers may contact you, or you may contact them . They may ask you to give a statement, but that could be used against you to file charges. Many of our clients contact us to determine whether they will be arrested, and to get more information.

If you have fled the scene of an alleged Hit and Run, you will likely have no information  as to whether there was even injury, and if there was the extent of it, or if there was damage to property. You would not know how many people were involved or the cost of damage. This is why a Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney is useful.

An attorney can call the police department on your behalf. This ensures that you don’t make any statements on your own that could be held against you, or that may provide possible evidence against you for a Hit and Run.

Many of our clients mistakenly believe that when they have been arrested they have also been charged. This is not the case. If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles criminal offense, you have not been charged. The common belief is that the arresting officers are the ones that charge you with a criminal offense, but it is actually the prosecutor that makes charges.

When you are arrested, it is only on the basis that there is probable cause that you have committed a criminal offense. The officers will give you a Notice to Appear at the time of your arrest. This Notice to Appear will have a date and a courthouse at which you will be required to appear. This appearance is mandatory, not voluntary so you must be present. If you hire a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney, the attorney may appear for you in most cases.  In that case, you will not have to be present in Court.

Being issued a Notice to Appear that requires you to appear in Court also does not mean you have been charged. Many times we appear in Court on the Notice to Appear date and no charges have been filed. This does not necessarily mean that the case has been dismissed, charges may be filed later.

Many of our clients come to us prior to having been arrested and are concerns as to how they can avoid charges, or at least mitigate the consequences. There are definitely ways to do so, but it has to be handled with expertise and care .

The very first step you can take to help ensure that any actions you take are helpful to you and your case is to hire a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer as soon as possible. Not only will the attorney provide you with the knowledgeable and experienced guidance that you need, but they will immediately start taking steps to work on your case and gather information.

If you think that you may be charged with a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you have no information. If you believe you caused injury to someone or caused damage to property and fled the scene, it is likely that you have no information as to what may have happened thereafter. You have no information as to whether a person was injured, whether there was damage, what the person’s name was, whether they had insurance, etc. That is where the attorney is an asset to your case.

As stated in Part One of this blog, when you have been arrested, it does not mean that you have been convicted. It is not until you enter a plea of guilty, or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, that you are convicted. Only after you are convicted you can be sentenced.

In issuing a sentence the Court will consider the specific facts of the case and the person’s criminal history. In making a determination, both the prosecutor and the Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony to make an argument in their favor.

California Vehicle Code §20003 outlines a Hit and Run in which there is injury to person. The statute outlines as follows in regards to sentencing:

The Vehicle Code statutes that make it unlawful to commit a Los Angeles Hit and Run also outline a range of potential penalties that a Court may impose. The sentence is stated as a range because it would not be reasonable to expect that every offense would warrant the same type of consequence, if convicted.

The court looks at several factors when determining where in the range the final sentence will fall. The Court will consider the specific facts of the case and the person’s criminal background. These facts are presented by both the Prosecutor and your Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney through evidence and testimony.

The Court will then consider the evidence and issue a sentence. Of course, this is only if a person has been convicted. As a reminder, if you have been arrested for a Hit and Run, that does not mean you are guilty or that you have been convicted. It simply means that officers have a reasonable suspicion that you are guilty of the offense. It must still be proven in Court that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or you would have to enter a plea of guilty, to be convicted. It is only once, and if, convicted, then a sentence can be issued.