After a Los Angeles Hit and Run offense there are several steps that can occur in between the offense and final resolution of the case. For the best results of your case, this is the best time to contact an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer.

Investigation

After an alleged incident, officers will contact you for an investigation for a hit and run. It could be by telephone, by mail, or in person. They will request that you report to the police department to give an official statement. This is one of the reasons why retaining a Los Angeles hit and Run attorney early on is a good idea. The attorney can often give a written statement they prepare with you, or be physically present at the time the statement is given, if in person. They will coach you and advise you on what to say and what not to say. This will help protect you because anything you say can be used against you in the case as evidence.

If you are faced with charges for a Los Angeles Hit and Run, there are several different consequences you may face. This could have a lasting impact on your record and your day to day life.

Jail Sentence

In some cases, you may be facing some jail time. This is common in cases where there is extensive damage to property, or there is injury to a person. A jail sentence is not standard in every hit and run case, but can be in egregious cases that give rise to a felony.

Contrary to popular belief, fault does not play a role in a Los Angeles Hit and Run Offense. A hit and run is not based on the fault of the accident, it is based upon leaving the scene when help or information should have been provided.

Let’s take a step back and consider an example to understand how fault plays a role. Dina is driving home from work one evening. It is raining hard and it is a difficult evening to see. Dina is stopped at a red light and is rear ended by a car driving fast that does not see Dina or the light. In turn, Dina’s car is pushed up and she hits someone who is crossing the street. There are minimal injuries but the pedestrian is knocked down.

In this situation, Dina is not at fault. She stopped at the light just as she was required to do. The car behind her is at fault. However, both Dina and the driver of the car behind her are required to render aid to each other, and the pedestrian that was crossing the street. The issue of whose fault the accident was is a determination for the insurance companies and the civil court, if required. It is not an issue for a potential hit and run. Both Dina and the driver behind her can be charged with a Hit and Run if they do not stop to help, or leave their information.

When you are charged with a Hit and Run in Los Angeles, it can be a misdemeanor or felony. If there is serious injury, it will likely be charged as a felony. However, the good news is that with the proper negotiations and evidence, the charge can be reduced to a misdemeanor.

The proper strategy can make all the difference. The best thing you can do for your case is to speak to a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer who will prepare a strong defense and argument for you. The attorneys at Hoffman and Associates have years of experience and have handled hundreds of hit and run cases. They know exactly what to do to ensure you get the best possible results. To fully understand how strategy can make all the difference, lets consider an example.

Danny and his wife are driving at 4:00 AM. It is dark and Danny did not see the pedestrian at the cross walk. There were no lights. Danny struck the pedestrian knocking him down. Danny’s wife got out of the car and asked the pedestrian if they were ok. The pedestrian responded that they were in a lot of pain.  Danny and wife were so terrified, they quickly left the scene.

If you believe you may have committed a Los Angeles Hit and Run, authorities will contact you in one of three ways. They can contact you via mail, and ask that you reach out to them for a statement and investigation. They can contact you via telephone, or they can also contact you in person, by showing up to your place of residence of work.

The biggest question our clients have when they come into our office is whether they should contact the authorities right away, or “wait it out”. Unfortunately, a lot of people mistakenly believe that if they don’t contact the authorities, they may never get caught, and can “get away with it”. This is not often the case. The authorities are trained in investigations pertaining to hit and runs, and know how to track down certain drivers and vehicles. “Waiting it out” can actually hurt your case, whereas contacting authorities can actually help get your case dismissed.

Of course, it is never recommended that you contact authorities without first being properly prepared or advised on what to say. When you contact authorities, whatever you say to them is a statement. This statement may be used against you later as evidence or an admission. Therefore, it is important that you choose your words carefully. The attorneys at Hoffman & Associates carefully review and guide our clients in terms of what to say to authorities. This ensures that you do not say anything that can be harmful to your case, while at the same time provide enough information to support a dismissal of your case. Oftentimes, if you have an attorney, that attorney can be present with you when you make your statement. This takes away a lot of stress and anxiety from an already difficult situation.

Proactivity is key in a Los Angeles Hit and Run case! Taking steps well before anything has been filed can be the significant difference in  a dismissal of your case. Many people believe that they will not be charged with a Hit and Run, so they take a chance and wait it out. This could be detrimental to your future, as the best time to get your case dismissed would be before anything is every filed. All it takes is some artful negotiations and discussions from a Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer.

Lets consider two contrary examples as to how a Hit and Run Attorney can help you. Danielle is driving home from work on a rainy, foggy, night. On her way home she hits a parked car and keeps going. Danielle mistakenly believes that no one will find out that she did that, as she is worried about her insurance, and does not do anything about it. Months later, after Danielle has taken no steps she is charged with a Hit and Run. She must then either retain an attorney and appear at her Arraignment, and all other appearances thereafter, including trial, unless she enters a plea of guilty. Prosecutors are not as lenient because Danielle did not take any steps to remedy her offense. She did not take any steps to make amends, or to address damages. This does not look kindly upon Danielle and officers as well as prosecutors are likely to be more strict when it comes to handling the case.

Now lets consider Dina. Dina was driving home from work on a rain, foggy evening, and she hit a parked car. Dina was scared that she would get arrested or her insurance rates will go up, so she kept driving home. The very next day, she retained a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer. The lawyer spoke with Dina and prepared her to make a statement. The attorney went with Dina to the police department where Dina gave a statement that protected her rights, but made her cooperative. The attorney then contacted the owner of the parked car and asked the owner about the damage. The attorney worked with Dina and the owner of the car to get the car fixed immediately, restoring it back to what it was prior to the accident. The owner of the car was friendly and cooperative and appreciated Dina’s proactive efforts. Having been restored to whole with no damage to the car, the owner of the car informs prosecutors that they would recommend no charges be filed. Prosecutors are happy with the way Dina and her attorney handled the matter, but coming forward, making their job easier, wasting less resources and addressing the problem immediately. This is reason enough for prosecutors to declare the case having been resolved, and not move forward with charges.

Negotiations are everything in a Los Angeles Hit and Run case. They can make the difference between you being convicted, and your case never being filed at all. Why is this the case? Because certain steps can be taken in between the incident having happened, and the filing of the case that can help prevent it from being filed at all. The best person to handle these negotiations is someone who has been doing it for over thirty years, like the Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyers at Hoffman and Associates.

Let’s go through the beginning of a Hit and Run case so that you can better understand what is meant by negotiations.

David is driving home from a friends house on a windy, rainy day. He is having trouble seeing, and ends up hitting a parked car in his neighborhood. It is late at night, and it is raining, so David decides to go home, and address the situation in the morning. The next morning he sleeps through his alarm, and ends up rushing to work. He decides to speak to his neighbor that afternoon. However, his neighbor, not knowing it was David, has already reported the hit and run to authorities and they are investigating the incident and speaking to neighbors. David immediately calls and retains a Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney. The attorney meets David at his local police station, where David gives a statement to officers, letting them know that he was the one that hit the parked car, and his intentions of speaking to his neighbor. With his attorney there, David has been advised what to say and what not to say. When David is going to say something incriminating, or something that should not be said, David is advised by his counsel to remain silent. His counsel knows the officer that is taking the interview. The officer knows that the attorney will work hard to make amends, and takes note that David voluntarily came in, making the officer’s investigation easy and saving the county’s resources.

If you have been charged with a Los Angeles Hit and Run, it is important to remember that you have not been convicted of any crimes at this point. Before you can be convicted, you have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury, or have entered a plea of guilty.

If you are convicted of a Hit and Run, the potential sentence is not set in stone, it varies upon different factors. These factors including the facts of the case, as well as your own criminal background.

If your case involves property damage, it falls under California Vehicle Code §20002. The potential sentence is imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding six months, or a fine, not to exceed $1,000, or both.

Hit and Run cases are common in Los Angeles. There are certain challenges and obstacles to overcome when it comes to a Los Angeles Hit and Run charge, but with the right Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer on your team, and proactive measures, you can take steps to drastically reduce your changes of getting charges filed against you and/or getting convicted.

When the property damage is to the city or the county government, however, it brings with it a whole new set of challenges and obstacles. Both types of cases, however, can be addressed and given a good chance at resolution prior to conviction. The defense and argument will be tailored to the type of case, and the specific set of facts. In order to better understand the process, let’s consider some examples.

David is driving home from work on a rainy night. He does not see the parked car in front of his driveway and hits the front bumper as he turns into his garage. Seeing that it was late, and he was tired, and the car was right in front of his house, he goes home and goes to sleep, hoping to address it in the morning. However, in the morning the car is gone, so David is not able to provide his contact information. Before  David receives a letter from authorities stating that they would like to interview him regarding a potential hit and run, David contacts a Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer. The attorney asks around in the neighborhood, is able to locate whose vehicle it was, and have David’s insurance company make full amends and pay restitution, causing the aggrieved party to never have to contact authorities. The issue is resolved quickly since the attorney is able to directly deal with a person whose vehicle it was, and to address the insurance company and get damages repaired as soon as possible.

Many of our clients mistakenly believe that if they wait long enough after a hit and run incident, that charges may never be filed against them. In reality, prolonging action can result in negative consequences to your case. Being proactive, when there may have been an incident that leads to a Los Angeles Hit and Run, can help your case get dismissed. Part of being proactive is to retain a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer as soon as possible.

The best way to explain how being proactive works, is by considering two contrasting examples.

David was driving home from work one day. It was late, he was tired, and it was pouring rain. In the rain he hit a parked car without seeing it. Tired from work and it being late, David drove home thinking he would deal with the problem later. The next morning, he was late for work and it was raining again. Days passed to weeks, and David soon forgot about the incident. He felt that because the police department, or the person whose car was damaged had not contacted him, there was no need to “stir the pot”. He figured he would wait until someone brought it up and then address it. Sure enough, in about three months the police department contacts David. He appears before the investigating officer on his own, and states on the record that he does not remember what happened, and that he was not involved. Officers have evidence that David hit the parked car and do not necessarily need David’s statement to press charges. However, officers are upset that David is blatantly avoiding responsibility, and made no amends to pay for the damages. The victim is also upset that David is denying fault, and has made no effort to fix the damages. The move forward with pressing charges.