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.

If you have been suspected to have committed a Los Angeles Hit and Run, officers will contact you for a statement. They may contact you via telephone, letter or even come in person and request an interview. This interview is crucial, as all the statements that you give during it could be used as evidence against you. This statement will also determine whether prosecutors will file charges against you.

So why have an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer on your team? Well, for several different important reasons. First being that an attorney will appear at the interview with you, to assure that you only make statements that cannot be harmful to you in the future. They may guide the conversation so that it is cooperative and within procedure, but does not incriminate you in any way. This is the best kind of peace of mind you can get, rather than being anxious and nervous and making a statement that will assure charges against you.

Further, experienced attorneys, like those at Hoffman & Associates have been handling Hit and Run cases in the Los Angeles area for over thirty years. They know the officers and the prosecutors. This is especially crucial to your case, because knowing the officers helps attorneys predict the questions that will be asked, what answers will be appreciated, and what will help prevent charges altogether.

Our clients are often surprised when they are charged with a Los Angeles Hit and Run, when they never directly hit anything. They inquire as to how they could possibly be charged with a Hit and Run, when there was no contact with any other vehicle, or other object. Unfortunately, it is possible to be charged with a Hit and Run in a situation where you have had no contact. The good news, however, is that there is an available defense.

In order to fully understand the arguments and the defense that an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer can prepare for you, it is important to first understand the factual scenario that can give rise to a no contact hit and run.

Lets assume that David is driving home from work. He is in a rush to get home, and abruptly changes lanes on the freeway. The abrupt change cuts off a motorcyclist who swerves to avoid rear ending David. In his swerve, he loses control of his bike and crashes into the middle divider. He suffers from leg injuries. David does not even notice that the motorcyclist swerved and crashed. David continues on his way home. Several witnesses who see the event, are able to get David’s license plate and inform authorities.

We live in a day and age where people expect and have grown accustomed to instant gratification. They want solutions provided quickly, and problems solved instantly. That is not the case with legal issues. Legal issues take some time, and when handled properly and professionally by a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer, they are resolved successfully. Although the process may take some time, the end result is hopefully one of long-term resolution. The impact of a legal case can have long term consequences on your social life, your work life, and your education. Handling the problem properly the first time around, despite the time it takes, can prove to be worthwhile.

This is the case with Los Angeles Hit and Run charges. Although clients want instant resolution, they do not realize the full extent of how many parties are involved in a hit and run, and how long it takes for negotiations, discussions, investigations and procedure to get the issue resolved. Let’s consider an example, to illustrate how many players we may have.

David is driving home from a friend’s birthday party. It is late, and it has started to rain. He has a hard time seeing, and rear ends a vehicle that is pulled over to the side of the road awaiting help. The driver of the vehicle, Victor,  is in the vehicle and suffers minor injuries. David does not see the person in the car and believes it is a parked car. Afraid that he may get in trouble, David takes off and drives home. He later is contacted by officers in connection with the potential hit and run.

A common misconception among many of our clients is that the main reason a person is arrested for a Hit and Run in Los Angeles is because they have struck another person’s property or person. If that were the case, the case is best addressed in civil court. The main issue in a Hit and Run case is that the person who may have struck another’s property, or struck another person, left the scene of the accident.

There are many reasons a person may choose to leave the scene of an accident. Some of the reasons may be enough to interest officers and prosecutors, and some may not. If the reason is one that could be a possible defense for leaving the scene, officers will note it in their reports, and prosecutors will consider that fact before filing their case.

Regardless of the reason, one thing is for sure; there must be evidentiary support for the reason, and it must be presented to officers and prosecutors in a manner that convinces them that it is a valid defense. A Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney, like those at our firm, are knowledgeable and have years of experience in presenting these types of defenses to the authorities.

If you’ve been involved in a Hit and Run accident you may be scared, confused and torn over what to do next. You should call my office because it’s never a good idea to turn yourself in. With our knowledge of the law and more than 30 years of experience representing those in Los Angeles Hit and Run accidents, we may be able to help you put this behind you without an arrest and with minimal disruption to your life.

Do you walk into a dark room without turning on the lights? If so you can’t see anything. You may trip and hurt yourself. Walking into a police station after a Hit and Run accident is like walking into a dark room. You probably don’t know the law and you don’t know what the police know about the accident. You may end up doing and saying things that will make your situation worse.

Los Angeles County has about ten million residents and more than eight million vehicles registered within its borders. There aren’t enough police officers, prosecutors and judges to fully investigate all Hit and Run accidents, arrest, charge and try all the people who caused them. That’s good news for our clients. Our job is to help you become one of those who won’t face criminal charges.

Many of our clients are involved in hit and runs with no fault of their own. They are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and are then left to deal with a criminal offense. Unfortunately, fault is not an issue in a San Diego hit and run case, but there are many defenses available that may help reduce your case or dismiss it altogether.

Let’s consider an example to understand how fault plays a role in a Hit and Run, or lack thereof. It is not as simple as it may seem. When there is an alleged hit and run, both parties are required to stop and exchange information. It is not just the party that may or may not be at fault. Therefore, if you are the person who was hit by another driver, you are also obligated to stay and provide information. This is especially an issue in multi car accidents, where you are caught in between two cars.

Donny was driving to work one day and had an important meeting that he needed to be at. As he was driving down the highway, he was rear ended by another car who was being careless and not paying attention to the road. The bump from the car resulted in Donny being propelled forward and hitting the car in front of him. Donny made a note of the license plate number of the car in front of him, and headed to work. It was Donny’s intention to contact the police department later on that day, as he did not have time to wait for the police to arrive and for him to explain that he was not at fault.