Articles Posted in Plea Bargaining

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.

When you have been arrested or cited for an offense, the citation you receive will state a date and time that you have to appear in Court. That date is the arraignment date. At the arraignment date you will receive a plea bargain from the prosecutor. A plea bargain is a complete offer, and if you agree to the plea bargain you will enter a plea of guilty at the arraignment, concluding your case.

Before you accept a plea bargain there are many things you should take into serious consideration.

  1. Is the offer reasonable?

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, your first appearance in Court will be the Arraignment. At the arraignment, you will be read your rights, the charges against you and the potential sentence. You will then have the opportunity to speak to the prosecutor and the prosecutor will offer a plea bargain.

A plea bargain is an offer that is supposedly less than the statutory sentence. The hope of prosecutors is that you will accept the lower sentence in hopes of getting a guilty plea and concluding a case. Oftentimes a plea bargain is a good option, but sometimes it is not. Let’s draw out an example so that it is easier to understand.

Donna has been charged with Hit and Run under California Vehicle Code § 20001. She has no prior criminal record. At the arraignment, the Judge reads out the code section, and her rights. The Judge also explains that in accordance with the statute, she may face a potential penalty of up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of $1,000.00 to $10,000.00.