Defending a hit and run charge can be very difficult for several reasons. First, because you left the scene of the accident, the police or law enforcement officials may presume you were guilty of causing the accident in its entirety, since fleeing the scene suggests guilt. Second, if you contact your insurance company and admit to the hit and run in order to get them to pay your damages from a civil lawsuit, the police can use the information in those insurance files against you in a criminal case.
Defending Against the Charges
There are a limited array of defenses you have when charged with hit and run. Generally, you can try to introduce reasonable doubt as to whether you in fact committed the hit and run in the first place. If the police have your license plate number or information, however, this defense may not be successful as they may be able to prove you were at the scene.
If the police know you were at the scene, you can attempt to prove that the accident was not your fault. While this may not be able to help you avoid charges of fleeing the scene of the accident, it can help to avoid other charges such as reckless endangerment charges or DUI charges if the police believe you fled the scene due to intoxication.
Mounting a Defense
Generally, there are several things you can do to defend yourself against hit and run charges.
- You can bring in experts to help reconstruct the scene of the accident.
- You can try to provide evidence tat you didn’t actually cause the accident, or that there were intervening factors that led to the collision.
- You can also try to prove that there were exigent circumstances leading up to the accident or explaining why you left the scene. This may not help you to be absolved of the criminal charges entirely, but it may lessen the severity of your sentence.
A civil lawsuit for hit and run is different from a criminal lawsuit; in such cases, instead of facing legal penalties, you face monetary loss. The plaintiff who you hit will sue you to recover for his damages.
Your insurance company will defend you only if you admit to being present and operating the vehicle. Remember, though, that this information can be used against you in your criminal trial.
Getting Legal Help
Getting help from an experienced hit and run attorney is essential if you are faced with either civil or criminal charges resulting from a hit and run. An attorney can help you mount appropriate defenses and can help you to balance the interests in both civil and criminal cases.