HIT AND RUN (VEHICLE CODE §20002)
In a horrific state of panic, anyone can lose their cool and leave the scene of an accident: Even when it’s not their fault. The reasons for this kind of behavior are many. But the one thing in common is that people get scared when they are in trouble. When fear sets in, we are capable of doing the wrong thing. A hit and run charge is one of those crimes, however, that can be fixed in creative and honest ways. More importantly, in the context of a DUI, a hit and run charge can complicate things considerably.
HIT AND RUN LAW
To be arrest or charged with this offense, you must:
- be involved in an accident,
- the accident caused damages to someone’s property,
- you knew that someone else’s property was damaged or that it was probable it was damaged due to the nature of the accident, and
- without identifying yourself to whoever else was involved you willfully failed to perform your duties of identifying yourself.
If someone was injured or killed in the accident, the state has the option of charging you with felony hit and run.
DUI & Hit and Run
It is not uncommon for an impaired driver that was just involved in an accident to leave the scene of the collision. Sometimes the area where the traffic collision occurred is not safe to pull over in. Other times, people panic for several reasons (like the comments above). What this means in the DUI context however is that two very important aggravating circumstances will be charged along with the DUI case: First, the fact that a traffic collision resulted from impaired driving will cause the District Attorney’s office to impose heavier punishment when filing the case. Second, the hit and run violation will also enhance the penalty. Therefore, a very thorough analysis of the case will be critical in devoting a credible defense and minimize the damage.
In certain circumstances, the defense can obtain for their client what’s called a civil compromise. This is an agreement that involves making the victim whole and sometimes involves a complicated arrangement between insurance companies when dealing with automobile accidents. Because this is an aggressive pre-trail motion between the District Attorney’s office and subject to final approval by the judge that is to hear the motion, it is highly suggested that you speak with an experienced defense lawyer that is familiar with this strategy.