If you have been involved in an accident and require the help of an experienced Los Angeles hit and run attorney, you can contact our criminal lawyers in Los Angeles today.
We have been representing and defending individuals accused of this crime for over 40 years. We offer compassionate and considerate defense to our Hispanic and non-Hispanic clients.
An efficient hit and run attorney in Los Angeles, California
Leaving the scene of a car accident is considered a felony in California. All drivers are required to stop to exchange data with the other drivers involved.
Hit and run accidents are punishable by severe penalties of fines and imprisonment. So if you have been charged with this crime you will need a strong and capable defense.
Otherwise, you would have to face charges provided for in the California Vehicle Code (20000 – 20010), which will affect your resume, immigration status and may put your freedom at risk.
Our Los Angeles hit and run attorney is amongst the best litigators you will find in the city. If you call our Los Angeles law firm now , we can book a professional consultation for you, where we will tell you what your best defense option is.
Examples of most common hit-and-run cases
- Crash into a parked vehicle and damage it.
- Crash into a utility or telephone pole and cause property damage.
- Hit a moving car on the road and run away after causing car damage and injuries to the driver.
- Hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist causing serious injury or death.
- Hitting another car on the road and generating a multiple traffic accident with property damage and minor or serious injuries to other drivers.
Hit-and-run misdemeanor and felony
The seriousness of the accident and the factual circumstances will determine the charges that the prosecution will bring. A hit and run accident with only property damage is not the same as the same with resulting injuries to other drivers and passengers.
For the purposes, the seriousness of the injuries are decisive to qualify the crime. Different types of injuries can be generated in these car accidents in Los Angeles. From brain or spinal injuries, to broken bones and whiplash.
How is the crime of hit and run punished in California?
The penalties for this crime are imposed by the judge taking into account the resulting damages and injuries. Likewise, the defendant’s driving style and whether or not they were sober at the time of the accident.
A hit-and-run charge can be brought even without the defendant needing to have collided with another vehicle. Reckless driving in California can be charged as a misdemeanor in this case.
Hit-and-run is a wobbler, that is, it is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony.
As a misdemeanor
If charges are filed as a misdemeanor due to material damage being the only thing recorded, the penalty could be:
- Six months maximum imprisonment in the county jail.
- Fines of up to $1,000.
- Adding two points on the driver’s license.
These penalties can be reduced if the defendant compensates for property damage caused to the other driver.
As a felony
On the other hand, if the accident is classified as a felony, the sanctions could include:
- Two to three or four years in prison in the county jail.
- Fines of up to $10,000.
- Adding two points to the driver’s license.
The penalties are increased if the crime is associated with another offense such as driving without a license or resisting arrest in California. An accessory penalty for this crime could also be the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license.
Offenses related to leaving the scene
It is true that at such a moment the driver can react in many ways. This is influenced by various factors such as nerves or the fear of being arrested and charged with other crimes. For example:
- Vehicular manslaughter.
- Possession for the sale or use of drugs .
- Drunk or drugged driving – Check out our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers section .
- Driving without insurance.
- Reckless driving.
- Driving without a license or on a suspended license in California.
- Driving a stolen car.
What should I do if I cause an accident?
The first thing is not to leave the accident scene, because the seriousness of the crime increases. The driver who caused the accident has the obligation to:
- Assist the other drivers if they are injured.
- Call the police or highway patrol through 911 to report the accident.
- Exchange personal data and insurance data, including:
- Phone, email.
- Residence or work address.
- Vehicle registration number.
- Name of the insurance company and policy number.
- Provide the police with a written report of the accident, if requested.
Then you will need to call a Los Angeles hit and run attorney to help you resolve the case. Remember that the intervention of an attorney before charges are filed is extremely important.
How can a hit and run attorney in Los Angeles help me?
Whether you have been charged with a hit-and-run or are the victim, our attorneys can be of great help because they offer:
- Representation and aggressive defense of a defendant. After analyzing the case and reconstructing the moment of the accident, we can:
- Draw up an adequate and effective defense strategy, according to the circumstances and seriousness of the facts.
- Try to get the judge to dismiss the case, reduce the classification of the crime or eliminate any of the charges.
- Try to get parole for yourself on the best terms.
- Ensure that the accused spends as little time as possible in prison, if the crime involves mandatory prison.
- Negotiate with the prosecution the imputed charges.
- Representation and advice to victims. If you are the victim and an unknown driver who hit you fled the scene, then we:
- Start a private investigation to determine the identity of the driver involved in the accident, injuries and damages.
- Formally request the police to start an investigation of the accident as soon as possible.
- Reconstruct the scene of the accident with the help of experts.
- Look for videos and photos from the scene of the accident, if the victim was unable to do so.
- Hire private investigators, experts and doctors to find the person responsible, determine the damages and the amount of compensation and verify the seriousness of the injuries.
Our attorneys have a combined experience of over 50 years dealing with these matters. The testimonials of our clients speak for themselves about how we take on the defense of a case.
What are the possible defenses for the crime of hit and run?
The essential requirement for the prosecution to succeed is to show that the defendant fled the scene intentionally, after the car accident, despite the damages and/or injuries caused.
Here are some of the possible defenses that a hit and run attorney in Los Angeles might invoke:
- The only damages were against the client’s vehicle: If the property damage was only for the driver who caused the accident, there is no need to stay at the accident scene. Unless you need the police to record the accident so your own insurance will pay you.
- The client did not know that they had caused an accident: There are cases in which the driver does not realize that they caused an accident. Since it happened out of his angle of vision (blind spot) or had to make unexpected maneuvers while he is driving. It is very common in truck accidents against cyclists and motorcyclists.
- The defendant or their vehicle was misidentified: It may happen that the vehicle that caused the accident was stolen and the driver fled the scene. Also that a similar car was the real culprit and that is why the victim or the witnesses were confused.
- At the time of the accident the defendant was not driving: For the crime of hit and run to materialize, the responsible driver must have been driving and not have stopped to exchange information.
In any of these circumstances, the charges for this crime have to be dropped.
Is it possible to recover damages after a hit and run?
Certainly, recovering the damages caused to the victim’s vehicle and covering the medical expenses derived from the injuries caused, is a problem. If the person does not have an uninsured motorist policy.
These types of coverages are very common in California. Most insurance companies automatically include them in auto policies when you buy auto insurance.
It is always advisable to include this type of coverage if your policy does not include it. Precisely in anticipation of hit and run accidents or drivers without coverage.
Coverage is offered even in cases where the other driver did not leave the scene, but does not have an insurance policy. Vehicle damage plus medical expenses should be covered by insurance up to the maximum stipulated in the policy.
What happens if the accident causes injuries?
When hit-and-run causes serious or catastrophic injuries, the victim is likely to want to sue insurance. Rather than file a claim, higher compensation will likely be sought, given the severity of the injuries
These civil actions proceed when the amount of compensation for damages and injuries is very low and the victim dies or becomes disabled. For this necessarily, the responsible driver has to be identified and arrested.
Who else can I sue in a hit and run case?
In addition to the responsible driver’s insurance company, the claim could extend to a third party. If it is proven that the accident was caused by:
- Mechanical failure.
- A design flaw of the car; or
- A defective piece or part.
In such a case, the claim would be brought against the car manufacturer or its dealer/seller in the country. If that was the case, please check our Los Angeles product liability lawyers blog for further info.
If you decide to hire one of our Los Angeles hit and run attorneys, know that your rights will be aggressively defended. We will help you avoid, reduce charges or recover damages and get the compensation you deserve. We always take care of our clients, that’s why they prefer us.