DUI Accident, Hit and Run.

What should you do if you have been involved in a traffic collision and fled the scene in panic?

As a DUI defense attorney in Los Angeles, I receive a lot of calls from people who have left the scene of a traffic collision because they have been drinking and are afraid of being arrested for DUI. After the alcohol wears off and it becomes unlikely that they could be arrested for a DUI because of lack of proof, a different set of problems present themselves. The first issue is that the police will be looking for the registered owner of the damaged vehicle left at the scene, or the owner of the vehicle that left the scene (assuming that someone took the license plate number). If the vehicle was left at the scene, it would have been impounded by the police and the owner then has to worry about how to get it out of the impound. The problem is made much worse if a victim was injured as a result of the collision.

It is normally advisable to retain a defense attorney in these circumstances so that the attorney can contact the police officer investigating the matter. Often, the police are primarily interested in taking a brief statement from the parties involved so that a traffic collision report can be prepared and sent to the district attorneys office for a decision to be made on whether to prosecute for misdemeanor or felony hit and run. Sometimes the best course of action is to contact the investigating officer and admit responsibility for the hit and run and provide the necessary insurance information to pass on to the other party. Some officers will agree not to file criminal charges if the other party is only interested in being compensated for the damage to his or her vehicle. If hit and run charges are filed, some prosecutors will be willing to allow a civil compromise, whereby, the victim agrees to accept compensation and the criminal proceedings are dropped.

If personal injuries resulted from the traffic collision, felony hit and run charges may follow. In this case, the suspect may be arrested and taken into custody until bail is posted. Felony hit and run charges may lead to a state prison term, depending on the severity of the injuries suffered. Any hit and run involving personal injuries also leads to a one year license suspension from the DMV.

If you have been involved in a hit and run, please contact us immediately as the longer time passes without action, the more serious the matter may become. Prompt action is essential to a successful outcome.


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