It’s a crime in California to leave the scene after being involved in or causing an accident. Any driver who does so can be charged with misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run. The severity of the charges depends on whether the accident involved property damage, bodily injury, or death. Regardless of the charges, it’s imperative to have an expert defense attorney protecting the driver’s rights. The skilled defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm are experienced in every aspect of defending California hit-and-run cases, and will work hard to minimize or even eliminate the consequences for a driver charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Leaving the scene of an accident that involves only property damage is a less serious offense in California than hit-and-run involving bodily injury or death, but the driver still faces serious repercussions. A driver convicted of hit-and-run with property damage – even if the driver didn’t cause the accident – faces punishment up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. In some cases, the driver also must forfeit the vehicle.
If the driver is alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the hit-and-run crash, there may be a DUI / DWI charge in addition to any allegations of leaving the scene of an accident. A motorist convicted of drunk driving and hit-and-run faces extreme consequences that can include prison time. These are extremely serious charges that require an expert defense attorney.
Fortunately, a driver who is accused of leaving the scene of an accident in California has many options available that may help to soften or even eliminate the consequences of a hit-and-run charge. The first option is to aggressively fight the charges. There are many viable defenses to a California hit-and-run charge. Remember, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the driver’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense could offer no evidence at all of the driver’s innocence, and if the prosecutor hasn’t proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the driver cannot be convicted.
In some cases, it may be possible to reach what is known as a civil compromise, in which the accused driver agrees to pay for all property damage and medical expenses, if any. If the other party agrees to a civil compromise and the accused driver reimburses all expenses, no criminal charges will be filed in connection with the alleged hit-and-run accident.
Certain cases require creative resolutions on the part of both the defense and the prosecution. The driver may be eligible for alternative sentencing such as community service or other options that can reduce or even eliminate a potential jail sentence. Other options may include CalTrans work or electronic monitoring. Although some sentencing alternatives may seem less than desirable, anything that helps the accused hit-and-run driver avoid time in jail is well worth considering.
Another option in a California hit-and-run case is a plea bargain. With the help of an experienced defense lawyer, the driver may be able to plead guilty to a lesser charge with reduced repercussions. However, a plea bargain should be just what the name implies – a good deal for both the driver and the prosecutor. The prosecution is more likely to offer a favorable plea bargain when it’s case isn’t particularly strong.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a California hit-and-run arrest, the experienced defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm will be able to reduce or even eliminate the consequences. Contact a skilled defense attorney today for a free consultation.