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Los Angeles Hit-and-Run Defense Attorneys

Have You Been Arrested for a Hit-and-Run in Los Angeles? We’re Here to Help

Hit-and-runs are considered a very serious offense by the California courts. If you have been arrested for such a crime, then chances are you are facing a lengthy prison sentence, as well as incredibly hefty fines. Going into a criminal trial alone can be a terrifying prospect. Who will your public defender be? Will they be able to do their job? What if they fail you? Those frightening questions are exactly why you should forgo the public defender and work with a highly experienced legal team.

At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, our attorneys have helped hundreds of clients walk away from their trial either completely acquitted or with lowered penalties. Many of those clients have been charged with performing a hit-and-run, and we can provide the same positive results in your case. We know the court system and what defense will serve you best. To secure the representation of a skilled Los Angeles hit-and-run defense attorney, call our firm at (213) 688-0460. We are ready to help.

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Driver’s Duties After a California Car Accident

The law is clear about what drivers are required to do after an accident at California Vehicle Code 20000-20010. You could be charged with hit and run if you fail do any of the following:

  • Stop your vehicle immediately.
  • Provide your name and address to the other driver(s) involved in the crash, as well as the names and addresses of any occupants of your vehicle who were injured in the accident.
  • Provide your vehicle registration number (and the name and address of the owner if the vehicle belongs to someone else) to the other drivers involved in the collision.
  • Provide the above information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the crash.
  • Render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident. This may include transporting or arranging for the transportation of any injured person to a doctor or hospital for treatment, if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if transportation is requested by any injured person.
  • Upon request, show your driver’s license to the other people involved in the wreck and to any officer at the scene. If your driver’s license is not available, show other valid ID.
  • In the event of a death of a person resulting from the accident, if there is no officer on the scene, report the accident to the nearest police office without delay.

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When a Person Can Be Arrested for Hit and Run in California

Hit and run involves fleeing the scene of an accident – regardless of whose fault it was. If you were involved in a fender bender and no one was hurt but it caused minor property damage, you could be arrested for hit and run if you failed to stop and identify yourself. If the accident resulted in injury or death, you could be arrested for hit and run if you failed to meet additional requirements under the law. These include providing reasonable assistance to any person injured in the crash (including a passenger in your own vehicle) and notifying the police as soon as possible.

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Hit and Run When There Is No Collision with Another Vehicle

You are required to stop, identify yourself, and provide the necessary information if you are involved in an accident that causes property damage. It does not necessarily have to be damage to another vehicle. A single vehicle crash could damage a fence, tree, sign, mailbox, building, pet, or any property belonging to someone else.

If the owner of the damaged property is not present at the time of the accident and you do not know how to contact the owner, you must leave written notice in a conspicuous place that includes your name and address and a statement of the circumstances. If you fail to do so, you could be charged with hit and run.

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Misdemeanor vs Felony

When learning to drive, most of us were warned of hit-and-run collisions where a driver causes an accident and then flees the scene of the crime. Hit-and-runs can involve striking another driver, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or motorcyclist with your car. Under California law, all drivers involved in an accident are required to stop and give assistance to anyone who could have been injured in the crash. If either driver, whether they are the one at-fault or not, neglects to do stop, then it is considered a hit-and-run.

While hit-and-runs are taken incredibly seriously in the California courts, the crime is actually considered a wobbler. This means that it could misdemeanor or a felony depending on the underlying charges. In order for a hit-and-run to be considered a felony, the accident must have caused serious injury or fatality. If you side-swiped a biker, then it is reasonable to assume that they were injured and need assistance. Driving away could be considered a felony hit and run. In contrast, if you only tapped the side of a large truck, then you might assume that the driver was not injured, meaning you may not face a felony charge.

On the other hand, if you are charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run, then the prosecution must be able to demonstrate four key factors. Those are:

  • You were involved in an accident while driving
  • The accident resulted in damage to someone else’s property, whether that be a car or building
  • You knew, or should have known, that you have been involved in the property damage causing accident
  • You failed to stop at the scene of the accident, or you failed to provide proper identifying information to the owner of the property that you damaged

If the prosecution is unable to show each of these factors, then the accident may not be considered a true hit-and-run, meaning your charge is not valid. A good violent crime defense attorney will lean on each of these factors, disproving them if possible. That way you can walk away from the trial without having to face the extensive penalties for a hit-and-run charge.

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Penalties for a Hit-and-Run Charge

As we said above, a hit-and-run offense is a wobbler. The penalties you face will depend on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony charge will be much harsher, but that doesn’t mean that a misdemeanor will be a cakewalk. If you are charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run, you can expect to face:

  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

For a felony charge, you may be sentenced to:

  • Up to four years in a state prison
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $10,000

You should keep in mind that a felony charge does not end once you are released from jail or pay your fine. Being labeled a felon means that you will lose certain rights in your everyday life. Some of the rights you lose include:

  • Voting
  • Owning a firearm
  • Traveling internationally
  • Parenting or visiting your children

A felony charge will also make it incredibly difficult to get a new job, which you will need if you have been in jail for several years. Felons are often treated as dangerous or as second-class citizens, no matter the circumstances around the crime or how long it has been since you served your time. Setting up an air-tight defense may be your only shot at making sure you avoid a felony hit-and-run conviction.

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Defending Against a Hit-and-Run Arrest

When preparing the perfect defense for your Los Angeles hit-and-run charge, your attorney should take an in-depth look into the facts of your case. Your arrest, the damages caused in the alleged accident, and whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony must all be considered.

For a misdemeanor charge, our attorneys may employ such defenses as:

  • There was no property damage caused in the accident
  • You did not realize that there was a collision, and it was reasonable for you to leave the scene
  • The alleged victim agreed to a civil compromise, meaning criminal charges are not needed
  • You were a passenger, not the driver
  • You were not involved in the accident at all, and it is a case of mistaken identity

On the other hand, for a felony defense, our attorneys may instead argue that:

  • The alleged accident did not cause any injuries or deaths
  • It was unsafe for you to stop your vehicle and help
  • You were a passenger, not the driver
  • You were not involved in the accident at all, and it is a case of mistaken identity

However, determining the right defense is not as easy as looking up what to do on a web page. Your attorney should be able to properly investigate your case and figure out how to attack the arguments made by the prosecution. To get the best-case scenario in your hit-and-run trial, you need to work with a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has experience achieving positive case results for hit-and-run charges.

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Top-Notch Legal Representation

Facing criminal charges can be terrifying. Your reputation is in tatters, you have been taken away from your family, and you have no idea if this court-appointed public defender will even be able to do their job properly. That is why you need to call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. We will provide the support you need, while also working tirelessly to find the defense strategy for your trial. If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, then call one of the most experienced criminal defense teams in Los Angeles at (213) 688-0460.

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Additional Information

Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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