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If you have been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, you are facing grave legal consequences. For this reason, it is critical that you retain an experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. A traffic accident is a stressful event that may leave you overwhelmed and not thinking clearly. Failure to fulfill your legal responsibilities may subject you to misdemeanor or felony charges. A Los Angeles experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the penalties and what your options are moving forward. Contact the Law Offices of David S. Chesley to discuss the facts of your case.
The Basics of California Hit & Run Charges
In California, you are required by law to stop immediately following an automobile accident resulting in property damage or injury to exchange driver’s license and insurance information with the other parties involved and provide this information to the police officers at the scene. This applies to you whether or not you are at fault for the accident. The penalties range from misdemeanors to felonies and depend upon the circumstances of the crash and any prior criminal history you may have. Some common types of situations that may result in hit and run charges are:
In addition to the personal information you must exchange at the scene, you are also required to stop and offer reasonable assistance to an injured party, such as calling 911.
If you leave the scene of an accident in which only property damage was involved, the charge will likely be filed as a misdemeanor. The potential penalties associated with a misdemeanor leaving the scene charge include:
It may be possible to have a misdemeanor charge dismissed if you agree to take on the responsibility in full of all costs involved in the collision. A civil compromise requires agreement by the other party involved and gives the court discretion to put a stop to the criminal proceedings against you and any consequences associated with those charges.
A hit and run offense is elevated to a felony charge when the injuries are serious or deadly. Bodily harm that results in a fracture or other injury requiring extensive rehabilitation is considered serious. Charges for this type of offense include:
A hit and run situation may become even more serious if a party involved sustains injuries resulting in death. Leaving the scene under these circumstances could bring a vehicular manslaughter charge against you. Your punishment may be enhanced to additional prison time up to five years.
A hit and run conviction also adds two points to your driving record, which can result in a suspended driver’s license if you have other violations on your record. Insurance premiums are generally affected as well when points are added to your driving record. Fortunately, in many cases, the representation of a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you avoid points being added to your license.
Hit and Run Elements
In order to be convicted of the above offenses, the prosecutor must present evidence to prove that your action or inaction fulfilled the elements of the crime. The following facts must be shown in order to convict you:
If this information cannot be proved against you, you may avoid conviction of the crime brought against you. A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with experience in the area of hit and run accidents can help you understand the legal elements that must be proved and navigate a strong defense on your behalf.
Hit and Run Defenses
There are situations where your failure to stop at the scene of the accident may be justified. Some of the circumstances that may apply to your case include:
If your vehicle was the only property damaged, you may not be required to stop under California law. An example would be your compact car struck a large truck or collided with a property owner’s fence, but no property other than yours was damaged. There may be other situations where you felt no impact from the accident or failed to realize you backed into another vehicle.
It is within the prosecutor’s discretion to look at the facts and circumstances and decide to try the hit and run as a misdemeanor or as a felony. A plea bargain may be favorable in your situation to downgrade a felony charge to a misdemeanor. It is crucial to speak with a Los Angeles hit and run attorney as soon as possible to provide the best outcome for your case. Following your arrest, the prosecutor will review the police report to decide what type of charges to file. You may have the opportunity to submit other evidence such as additional witness statements from the scene, character letters, and other mitigating evidence to explain your involvement in the accident. You may have the opportunity to reduce the charges against you with the help of legal counsel. Don’t hesitate to contact the Law Office of David S. Chesley today.
Contact a Los Angeles Experienced Hit and Run Defense Attorney to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious situation that may come with a wide range of penalties. If you or a loved one was involved in a collision and failed to fulfill their legal responsibilities at the scene, there are many circumstances that may have come into play. Your judgment may have been tainted by fear of other charges, such as drunk driving, driving with a suspended license or without insurance. It is important to note that consulting with a lawyer before talking with law enforcement is essential should they contact you about the accident. Anything you say to them can be used in the charges against you.
The California criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of David S. Chesley understand the various factors involved in a hit and run situation and can walk you through the legal process as you face the situation. Contact us today to discuss your case at 800-755-5174 or fill out our contact form online.
According to VC 23152 (a), it is illegal for any person to drive under the influence of alcohol.
As experienced defense attorneys, we have various instances of the successful defense of DUI marijuana cases.
The drug can be any controlled, illegal or prescription substance that can impair a person’s ability to drive a vehicle safely.
A hit and run case is when the driver after hitting another car(s) or damaging the property did not stop and left the scene without notifying other drive or property owner and law enforcement.
You must consult an experienced defense lawyer for your legal representation in court to avoid conviction or to reduce charges to minimum.
Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.