Hit and Run Dismissed
Client charged with hit & run after minor contact with a parked car in the parking lot of a medical facility. Despite an offer to plead "responsible" to a traffic infraction, and safely avoid criminal consequences, we insisted that the DA prove the case. When it became apparent that sufficient proof was impossible to establish, prosecutors dismissed the case.
To prove criminal hit and run, prosecutors must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
1) Drove a vehicle
2) that was involved in a crash, causing
3) either property damage or an injury that wasn't apparent (or both)
4) the person driving knew or reasonably should have known that the vehicle was involved in a crash and
5) One of the following:
(a) willfully fails to stay at the scene
(b) willfully fails to stay with the vehicle at the scene until investigated by law enforcement and released
(c) willfully facilitates, allows, or agrees to the removal of the vehicle before completion of an investigation by a law enforcement officer or before receiving consent from the officer, or
(d) fails to give his or her name, address, and driver's license and license plate number to the driver or occupant of any other vehicle involved in the crash or to any person whose property is damaged in the crash.
Even minor contact in a parking lot can lead to criminal charges. A person involved in such an incident should, at the least, leave their contact information on the windshield of the parked car (including driver license number and plate number), probably with a note that confirms you retained pictures of the result of the contact.
Practice area(s): Criminal Defense