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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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