How to Fight a Hit and Run Charge in California?
If a driver collides with another motorist, pedestrian or another object, they have a responsibility to stop and check-in with anyone else involved. Failing to do so can have serious criminal consequences in California.
Knowingly driving away from the scene of an accident is more than just a serious offense on your driving record. It can lead to the state filing criminal charges against you. And if the other person involved in the accident is severely hurt or even killed, you might be looking at a long jail sentence for failing to act as you should.
Individuals charged with a California hit and run should seek out a good criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will start by explaining to you the process for your criminal prosecution and guiding you in understanding what to expect throughout the case. Here are some important considerations for individuals facing criminal charges for a hit and run.
Elements the Prosecution Will Work to Establish
The prosecution will work to prove four important elements in a California hit and run case. These elements include:
- The defendant was a part of a car accident
- The defendant had full knowledge at the time of the accident that they were involved in it.
- The defendant knew that someone was killed, hurt or could be hurt as a result of the accident.
- The defendant knowingly left the scene of the accident without fulfilling their requirement to stop, check on the other person, notify police, and exchange information with the other individuals involved in the accident.
Likewise, these same four elements apply when there is a question of harmed property instead of harmed individuals. Regardless of the harm that the driver does, he or she has a responsibility to stop and notify the property owner of the accident.
Given these requirements for a California hit and run prosecution, your attorney will work to establish one of many possible defenses for your case. Here’s a look at some of the possible criminal defense strategies your attorney might employ in such a case.
Criminal Defense Strategies for California Hit and Run Cases
The defense strategies that your California criminal defense attorney employs will vary based on the circumstances surrounding your case. However, here are some of the strategies your attorney might employ after discussing the case with you and learning of the prosecution’s evidence against you.
Factual mistakes: your attorney will call into question the validity of the facts against you. For example, the driver in question might have been unaware that they had collided with something or someone at the time of the accident or they might have believed it was road debris or an animal instead of a person or personal property. Additionally, your attorney might work to prove that you thought the object was thrown at your vehicle instead of you hitting the object. By thoroughly investigating the circumstances leading up to you leaving the scene of an accident, your attorney can show the facts and call into question the prosecution’s evidence.
Proving you weren’t involved in the accident: although the prosecution might be able to prove that your vehicle was the one involved in the hit and run accident, that doesn’t mean you were the vehicle’s driver at the time of the accident. Or your attorney might be able to prove that eyewitnesses misidentified your vehicle or license plate in the case. With so many similar vehicles on the roads today, it can be challenging to prove specifically which vehicle was involved in such an accident.
Your life or safety was at risk: sometimes, people flee the scene of an accident because they are concerned for their life or safety. There are many reasons this can occur for a defendant and your attorney can help bring those facts to light.
Hiring an Attorney for a California Criminal Defense
From the moment you are arrested or face criminal charges, you should hire a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will immediately go to work for you negotiating more favorable terms and pulling together evidence and testimonies that prove your innocence.