Does My Los Angeles Criminal Hit and Run Case Preclude a Civil Suit Against me?

When a person has been charged with a Hit and Run, they are being charged by the State. It is a criminal charge under the California Penal Code and other relevant code sections. Many times in a Hit and Run case, an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney is able to negotiate with the injured party so that the criminal case may be dismissed.

This is done through the use of a civil compromise. For example, Daniel is driving home late at night and falls asleep at the wheel. He ends up driving his car into someone’s fence. Daniel is scared that his insurance will go up and he cannot afford it, so he takes off and leaves the damaged fence. Eventually, Daniel is caught and charged with a Hit and Run. The owner of the fence learns that Daniel is the one who damaged his property. Daniel hires a Criminal Defense attorney that speaks to the owner of the fence who agrees that they will sign a civil compromise allowing Daniel to make full amends. The civil compromise will then be used in Criminal Court as a good faith gesture and to demonstrate that the injured party is no longer injured and all amends have been made and therefore the criminal case should be dismissed.

In contrast, consider a second example, with somewhat similar facts. Daniel is driving home and he is tired late at night. He falls asleep at the wheel and hits a fence. Not being able to afford higher insurance rates, he drives off. Eventually, Daniel is linked to the damage and a hit and run case is filed against him. The owner of the fence is informed of Daniel’s information and he is named as the person who caused the damage. Daniel’s criminal defense attorney attempts to negotiate with the fence owner to make amends for the damage, but the owner is adamant that the amount being offered will not be sufficient to fix the damage. Daniel refuses to settle because he is certain that the fence owner is asking for more than the damage is worth. As a result, the parties cannot agree on a settlement and the fence owner refuses to sign a civil compromise.

In the first example, Daniel makes amends and the fence owner agrees to sign a civil compromise that is used as leverage in the criminal case. It additionally removes the damage and makes a civil suit moot. There is no damage to be remedied and therefore the fence owner cannot validly bring a claim against Daniel. In comparison, in the second example, there is no civil compromise. The damage to the fence remains and therefore the fence owner may file a case against Daniel in civil court to obtain damages to fix his fence.

An experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney has handled thousands of cases. Consult with an expert today so that your case has the best chances of completing a civil compromise.