Oftentimes a hit and run occurs during a DUI. Many clients believe that because the charges arise out of one incident, that they are not two separate cases. While they may not be two separate cases, they are certainly two separate charges. A person who is charged with a Hit and Run, and a DUI,sis going to be facing two separate charges, with two separate sentences.
A driving under the influence charge is a serious offense on its own. It may lead to potential jail time, probation, fines and penalties. A hit and run faces the same consequences but in addition to the DUI.
Let’s consider an example. David is driving home from a party at 4:00 AM. He has had three beers and does not feel that he is intoxicated. As he is driving home, someone hits his car from the back. Frustrated and tired,sDavid jots down the license plate and the car, and drives off. It is David’s intention that he will contact the other driver the next day, once he has had some time to rest and it is not so late.
The other driver calls officers, stating a hit and run and describes David’s car. David is immediately spotted by officers and pulled over on suspicion of a hit and run. When officers pull David over, they smell alcohol and they ask David if he has been drinking. David wanting to be truthful responds that he has had a few beers. Officers administer a breath test on the scene and take David into custody.
David is charged with both a hit and run and a DUI.
In this situation, David may argue that he was not the person at fault during the accident, that he was in fact hit by the other person. However, fault is not a crucial element in a hit and run case. All that matters is that there was damage to property or person, and one person fled the scene without providing adequate information. Furthermore, it seems that David made an admission that he had been drinking. That admission is all officers need for probable cause and can arrest David, or administer a breath test based on their suspicion.
As stated, a Hit and Run is a serious charge. It can be a misdemeanor or felony, and will remain on your record hindering your future with educational as well as financial institutions. A DUI is just as serious and like a Hit and Run charge may affect your ability to secure employment, may affect your professional license as well as your educational goals.
If you are facing either charge, it is a good idea tosconsult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer. If you are facing both charges, you should not hesitate and should seek the guidance and representation of someone who has been handling such cases for thirty plus years.