Hit & Run

What is hit and run?

Hit and run is the act of leaving the scene of a automobile collision without identifying oneself after causing or attributing to the collision. The collision can be with either a structure, another automobile, or a person. In most jurisdictions, the law requires the person causing or attributing to the automobile accident to stop and exchange insurance information and to summon emergency vehicles if needed. If the owner of the structure or automobile is not present, the law requires the person to leave a note identifying oneself.

Hit and run laws are designed to protect car accident victims from perpetrators who are often difficult to identify once they have fled the scene of the crime. After all, the perpetrators are in a car and could drive away from the scene of the crime before police are summoned, especially if they had hit a person, a structure or a parked car. Also, sometimes people who caused accidents are injured and/or overly excited and could drive away without thinking. Either way, hit and run laws are a necessary part of criminal law that maintain justice and order in our society.

What are the possible punishments for hit and run convictions?

The legal consequences for hit and run is dire. In most jurisdictions, if the hit and run resulted in death, injuries or damage to property over a certain dollar amount, it is considered a felony offense, punishable by imprisonment of longer than one year. If on the other hand, no death or injuries occurred, then it is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by less than one year imprisonment. Apart from the possibility of imprisonment, there are other consequences attached to hit and run charges. In most states, regardless of whether anyone was injured, a hit and run conviction will suspend or revoke your driver’s license. Insurance companies would often cancel your policy or deny you from obtaining a new policy. Finally, regardless of whether the conviction was a felony or misdemeanor, it will stay on your criminal record for the rest your life. Having a criminal record could make the college application process more difficult, disqualify you from student financial aid loans and cause issues with your future career opportunities.

How can a hit and run attorney help me if I have been charged?

If you have been charged with hit and run, you first concern should be to find yourself a professional hit and run attorney. This is because hit and run is a serious criminal charge with severe punishment attached to it if you are convicted. As already mentioned in the previous section, hit and run is at least a misdemeanor and at most a felony, either charges could destroy your reputation, your career, your home life and could even take away your freedom. By hiring a professional hit and run attorney, you can help your case in many different ways. First, the hit and run attorney will figure out if and any mistakes were made by the police during the investigation which lead to your charge. This can be done by requesting discovery from the prosecutor who must turn over all and any evidence against you, such as police reports, criminal complaints, and physical evidence. Police officers are human too and they make mistakes during the course of their jobs. These mistakes can be violation of privacy, defective search warrants, omitted or incorrect Miranda warnings, illegal search and seizures, lab mistakes, and intentional miscarriage of law. If any mistakes on the part of the police were discovered, the criminal defense attorney will then negotiate with the prosecutors for the best possible plea deal for your particular case. If no favorable plea deal can be struck with the prosecutor, the criminal defense attorney will take the case to a motion hearing in which he/she will file motions to the judge for a ruling on evidentiary issues. Finally, if the judge denies the motion, then your attorney will take your case to trial.

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