If you were involved in an accident, you may be tempted to flee the scene, particularly if the accident was your fault or if you were breaking the law by not carrying insurance or driving under the influence. While this may seem like a fair solution to escape the possible complications an accident will cause, it is against the law and if you are caught, you will face criminal charges for the hit and run on top of any other legal issues arising from the accident itself. If you have been accused of leaving the scene after an accident, it is crucial you call someone experienced in this area of the law, such as Vista DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss.
It is important to realize that any kind of accident can result in a hit and run charge. Even if you just back into your neighbor’s fence and damage one of the posts, if you leave the scene without providing identifying information (including your driver’s license number and vehicle registration details), you can be charged with a hit and run. Additionally, it doesn’t matter if the accident was your fault. If someone hits you and you leave the scene without exchanging information because you were in a hurry to get somewhere and weren’t worried about the damage to your vehicle, you can still be charged with a crime. If the accident was negligible, in some cases, a Vista traffic offense attorney may be able to show that you left the scene only because you did not even realize that an accident occurred at all.
Hit and run charges may be felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances of the accident. If no one was injured and the accident only involved property damage, the crime will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and $1000 in fines. You will also have two points added to your DMV record and be required to pay restitution to the victim. These charges can often be dropped if your Vista DUI attorney is able to reach a compromise with the other party, generally involving some form of restitution.
If you left your car at the scene of the accident, the police will impound your call and contact you about the accident. If you drove away, the police will still be looking for you. You should immediately contact a criminal lawyer before answering any questions from the police.
In cases where someone was injured, hit and run charges will be felonies. The punishments for these crimes will vary based on the severity of the injuries and the criminal record of the driver who fled the scene. Generally though, anyone facing felony hit and run charges will face three or four years in a state penitentiary. In cases where a person was injured in an accident, the other driver is not only required to stay at the scene, but also offer a reasonable level of assistance to the other person. While these charges are very serious, you can fight them, especially with the help of an experienced Vista hit and run lawyer.
In many cases, the other party in the accident will claim someone hit them and fled the scene without any proof. In these cases, it is up to the prosecution to prove that you were involved in the accident, which can often be difficult if the only witness is the other party.
If you have been accused of a hit and run, please call Vista DUI defense lawyer Peter Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Salim Virji