If you were involved in an auto accident in the city of San Diego, and left the scene without exchanging information (regardless of fault) with the other party, you could be charged with a San Diego Hit and Run.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, you are probably wondering what the best steps to take to try and avoid being charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. To avoid this happening, it is always helpful to have your lawyer talk to the police investigator handling your case to understand the facts and circumstances involving your accident and the other party. The police investigator will deal with your lawyer in a much more positive manner than they would deal with you. Their investigation would typical entail coming to the police station, obtaining a statement from you, and inspecting your vehicle (unless it was already impounded). It is not uncommon that police officers come to people’s home to complete their investigation.

As a skilled hit and run specialist for over thirty years, our attorneys have found that being cooperative with the police at the earliest possible time after the accident dramatically increases the percentage of cases we are able to get closed or dismissed, without any charges being filed.

Many of our clients mistakenly believe that fault plays a role in a Los Angeles Hit and Run Offense. This is inaccurate. When it comes to the criminal offense of Hit and Run, fault is not a mitigating factor, nor does it relieve you of the offense. This is an issue for the civil case, if any.

The reason a Hit and Run is unlawful, is because of a person’s decision to leave the scene, rather than stay and provide aid. That is the reason it is unlawful and what gives rise to the criminal offense, not the issue of fault. Let’s consider an example to better illustrate this concept.

Danny is driving home from work one evening. It is a rainy and icy night, with very little visibility. Charlie is driving behind Danny along the highway. Charlie is not paying attention and he cannot see very well. He fails to stop when Danny brakes and slams into Danny’s car. This causes Danny to slam into Victor, who is driving ahead of him. Charlie takes off driving away. Victor’s car seems to have been badly damaged.

When there has been an alleged incident of Hit and Run, it is in your best interest to retain a San Diego Hit and Run lawyer as soon as possible. There are several significant benefits to this. First off, hiring an attorney will help save the emotional hassle and stress of figuring out what steps to take, and what is the most beneficial to you. This in, and of itself, is worth acting quickly upon. However, there are many other benefits to having a legal professional on your team. To better understand this, let’s walk through the beginning steps of an alleged Hit and Run incident in San Diego.

If you believe you have been involved in committing a Hit and Run, you will not immediately be arrested, unless there is an accident and authorities show up. Generally, after an investigation has been completed, authorities will reach out to you via telephone, mail or in person. You will be asked to contact authorities and set up a time to give a statement.

If you have not consulted or retained a San Diego Hit and Run Attorney, how do you know whether you should contact authorities before they contact you? If they contact you, how do you know what to say in a statement? Should you even give a statement? Oftentimes, this is an intimidating situation, and most people do not know how to proceed or what to say. They often become so worried or stressed out that they push it out of our mind and chose to do nothing. If that is the case, the situation only gets worse.

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.


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.