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    Los Angeles Hit & Run Defense Attorneys

    Criminal Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles Protecting the Rights of People Accused of Hit & Run

    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:

    • Collision with another vehicle causing property damage along with injury or death
    • Collision with a pedestrian resulting in injury or death
    • Collision with objects such as mailboxes, telephone poles, buildings, etc. causing property damage
    • Collision with a parked vehicle causing property damage

    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:

    • Up to six months in jail
    • Fines up to $1000
    • Possible probation period
    • Possible restitution to parties involved

    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:

    • 2-4 years in State prison
    • Fines up to $10,000
    • Possible counseling required
    • Possible probation period
    • Possible restitution to parties involved

    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:

    1. You were driving and involved in a vehicular accident
    2. The vehicular accident caused damage to another’s property
    3. You had knowledge that:
      1. Another party’s property was damaged, or
      2. The type of accident would probably result in damage to another party’s property
    4. You willfully failed to fulfill your legal responsibilities of:
      1. Immediately stopping at the scene
      2. Exchange identifying information with other parties involved

    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:

    • You were threatened by the other party involved in the accident
    • You were mistakenly identified as a party
    • You accidentally left the scene with no willful intent to do so
    • The circumstances presented by the other party were exaggerated or false
    • The collision did not result in property damage, injury or death
    • You provided the required reasonable assistance to the other party
    • You had an emergency situation and could not stop

    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.

    DUI Alcohol

    DUI Alcohol

    According to VC 23152 (a), it is illegal for any person to drive under the influence of alcohol.

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    DUI Marijuana

    DUI Marijuana

    As experienced defense attorneys, we have various instances of the successful defense of DUI marijuana cases.

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    DUI Drugs

    DUI Drugs

    The drug can be any controlled, illegal or prescription substance that can impair a person’s ability to drive a vehicle safely.

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    Hit and Run

    Hit & Run

    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.

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    Drunk in public

    Drunk in Public

    You must consult an experienced defense lawyer for your legal representation in court to avoid conviction or to reduce charges to minimum.

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    Driving Without a License

    The situation and circumstances of your charges play an important role in determining the conviction and penalty.

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    Recent Results

    • 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!

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