If you have received a letter or a call from the police department asking to speak to you about a Los Angeles Hit and Run, you have not been arrested. If you have received a citation asking you to appear in Court, then you have been charged, but are not convicted. You can only be convicted in one of two ways, if you plead guilty in the Court of law, or if you are found guilty by a jury.
With a Los Angeles Hit and Run, unlike many other charges, there are ways to strengthen your chances of avoiding a charge, if you take the right steps immediately.
- Consult with a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer
Whether you have just received a letter from the police department, or you have formally been charged, the first and best step you can take for yourself is to consult with a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer. Many offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose. A lawyer has the experience and knowledge to assess the facts of your case and immediately develop a game plan that will help avoid being formally charged or reduce your charges.
If you have only received a letter, you have not been charged but will be questioned by officers. You should have an attorney present for this questioning. It is important to preserve your rights and ensure that you do not make any admissions or statements that could later be used against you.
- Speak to the Injured Party
In a Los Angeles Hit and Run, there is what is called a Civil Compromise. A Civil Compromise allows the person being charged to make amends with the alleged victim of a Hit and Run. For example, if David ran through the fence of Valerie and is charged with a Hit and Run David has the option to come to a Civil Compromise with Valerie. He can agree to pay Valerie for the damage that was done to her property and have Valerie sign off saying amends have been made and she is no longer aggrieved.
Similarly, if David had hit Valerie with his car, he would make amends by covering hospital bills and other expenses incurred due to the accident. If a Civil Compromise is reached, it helps convince prosecutors to either lessen the charges, or sentence, or to not bring charges at all.
With every Hit and Run case, there needs to be a thorough investigation in order to ensure the charges against you are brought based on actual evidence, otherwise they should be dismissed or reduced immediately. It is important to survey the scene of the accident, review health records, survey damage and make your own assessment of actual injury or damage and the costs.
For example: When there is significant injury to a person, a Hit and Run will be charged as a felony. If there are minor injuries, scrapes, etc, it will be charged as a misdemeanor. There is a big difference between a felony and a misdemeanor as it affects your life and criminal record. There was a case in which the charge was a felony charge for “major injuries”. Upon a thorough investigation by a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer, it was found that the medical records for the injuries only totaled $60.00. Thus making an argument that the injuries were not significant at all, and were minor, leading to a reduction in charges.
If you have been charged or suspected of a Hit and Run, do not take a chance on your future. Consult with a legal professional as soon as possible. They have the means and expertise to do the legwork and the background research to ensure you the best fighting chance!