If you have been accused of a hit and run accident, the first thing you need to know is whether it is being treated as a felony or a misdemeanor. The distinction is dependent on the severity of the situation. If the accident caused bodily injury to another party, as well as significant material damage, you may be looking at a felony charge. The likely sentence for a felony hit and run is some jail time, as well as having to pay some serious restitution to the victim.
On the other hand, if there were no injured parties, and the damage was minimal, you are probably looking at a misdemeanor classification. That’s not always the case, however, so if you have too many priors, you may be facing felony charges regardless of the severity of the accident.
One thing that you need to remember is that you should never discuss your situation with anyone prior to talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney. The police will do everything they can to place you at the scene of the crime and you shouldn’t help them. Consult a reputable criminal defense attorney like Monder Law Group and tell them all the details of your situation.
Your Best Defense
Hit and run is a difficult crime to prove unless there is a photographic or video evidence. That’s why there are several ways you can disprove the hit and run charge. The best way you can do it is by having a solid alibi for the time of the supposed accident. The prosecution will be forced to drop the case against you if your alibi checks out.
However, if the case reaches the court, you still have some options to protect yourself. One of the most common defenses is claiming that there was no material damage or physical injury as a result of the accident. However, if the case reached the court, it may not be a particularly effective defense. A more useful method is to claim that you were unaware that the accident caused any material damage or physical injury to any other party.
The prosecution will try to paint you as a person who intentionally ran away from the scene of the crime, and they may be supported by the victim of the hit and run who may claim that you did see them and that you paused and looked at them before fleeing the scene. They stand to gain financially if you are convicted, so they will probably be adamant about their version of events.
DUI and Hit and Run
If you fled the scene because you were intoxicated, the police only have 3 hours after the accident to obtain your blood alcohol levels. That’s why they work quickly and try to obtain this piece of evidence as soon as possible. If your hit and run chargehas a DUI component, you will need help from a criminal defense attorney with enough DUI experience.
What Is the Right Course of Action if an Accident Occurs?
In order to avoid being accused of a hit and run, you need to follow some guidelines as per California law. If an accident occurs, you are obligated to stop, provide aid to the other party and exchange insurance information with them. In some cases, there’s no need to involve police or the legal system at all, since insurance companies can resolve the issues internally if both parties agree.
Whatever your situation is, make sure that you find a good criminal attorney, since that could be the only thing standing between you and a jail sentence, as well as a hefty restitution fee.