Orange County Hit and Run Defense Lawyer
An individual can face criminal charges for hit and run if they leave the scene of an accident and meet other specific criteria under the California Vehicle Code. If the state prosecutor handling your case establishes the necessary legal elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you may face monetary fines and imprisonment.
To have the best chances of avoiding a conviction and penalties, talk with our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys immediately.
The skilled Orange County hit and run lawyers at Chudnovsky Law can assist you with every aspect of your criminal case. First, we can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of the incident and determine your eligibility for arguing a successful legal defense in court. We can also assess your eligibility for negotiating a favorable plea deal with the state prosecutor handling your case.
No matter your circumstances, you can rest assured that we will aggressively fight for your legal rights and pursue the best possible outcome, whether through courtroom litigation or a favorable plea deal. We can also answer all your legal questions and address your concerns.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a knowledgeable Orange County hit and run defense attorney, please call or contact us online for more information.
Why Retain Us for Legal Representation?
When retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, we know you have numerous options available. In a criminal case involving a hit and run, you want the best possible team of defense attorneys on your side, aggressively fighting for your rights and pursuing the most favorable result.
The experienced Orange County hit and run lawyers at Chudnovsky Law have significant experience representing criminal defendants throughout their cases and obtaining successful results on their behalf. Our legal team has more than 65 years of combined experience helping defendants get successful results in their criminal legal matters.
In addition to our work on the defense side, many of our team members are former state prosecutors. This means that many of us worked to prosecute cases for the state in the California Criminal Court System. Consequently, we know how prosecutors obtain evidence for their cases – and how they build their cases from start to finish. We use this knowledge to benefit our defense clients.
Additionally, our team has defended over 9,000 criminal cases, including in jury trials. In the process, we have fostered meaningful professional relationships with local district attorneys and criminal court judges. These relationships have also helped us to achieve favorable results on behalf of our clients, including fair plea deals with prosecuting attorneys.
Specifically, our team has received numerous accolades in the following publications:
- The Washington Post
- NBC News
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers
- New York Daily News
- CBS News
- Los Angeles Times
Our various recognitions in recent years include all of the following:
- 5 Star Rating on Lawyers.com
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association
- Rated best criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles & Orange County by Expertise
- 5 Star Rating on Findlaw
- 10.0 Lawyer Rating on Justia
- 5 Star Peer-Reviewed on Martindale-Hubbell
- 5 Star Ratings on Google Los Angeles, Orange County, Long Beach
- 10.0 Superb Rating on AVVO
If you face criminal charges for a hit and run, let us help you obtain the best possible result in your criminal court case.
How Will My Hit and Run Case Turn Out?
We can use several approaches to help you resolve your hit and run case in a manner that is favorable to you and your legal interests.
First, we can secure a fair plea deal from the state prosecutor handling your case. Plea deal negotiations can start anytime, and we will work hard to secure the best possible deal for you.
As part of a plea deal, the accused individual must ordinarily plead guilty to a particular offense in exchange for one or more concessions from the state prosecutor.
For example, the prosecutor might agree to reduce the pending criminal charge from a felony down to a misdemeanor, or they might agree to a period of probation that the accused individual has an opportunity to complete. If the accused completes their probation successfully, any conviction on their record may disappear.
The benefit of a plea deal is that it takes away the uncertainty of a criminal bench or jury trial. Moreover, it offers an accused individual the opportunity for lighter penalties – or the ability to eliminate a conviction from their record.
However, plea deals do not come without specific detriments. First, if an accused individual accepts a plea deal, they waive their right of appeal and their right to a jury trial. They must also appear in court and state on the record that they enter the plea deal freely and voluntarily. Once the accused individual puts that statement on the record, the presiding judge will likely accept the plea deal.
The other option of resolving a hit and run accident case is to take your case to a judge or jury trial.
At trial, the state prosecutor has the sole legal burden of proof and must establish each element of the underlying offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to satisfy even one legal element, the charge and the entire case may be subject to a complete dismissal.
On the other hand, the accused individual does not need to prove anything in the case or establish any legal burden of proof. However, by asserting a strong defense in response to the criminal charge, the accused can poke holes in the prosecutor's case, preventing them from satisfying their legal burden.
During a criminal court trial, the parties will present evidence, and the trier-of-fact will determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the underlying crime. If the state prosecutor satisfies their legal burden and obtains a guilty finding or conviction against the accused individual, a sentencing judge will impose various penalties under the California Penal Code.
In some cases, an accused individual should take their case to trial rather than accepting a plea deal from the state prosecutor, especially if the accused has a solid legal defense to their hit and run charge.
Throughout the criminal court proceedings, our legal team can identify all of your legal options and help you make both intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case.
What is a Hit and Run Charge in Orange County?
California can convict you of a hit and run if you:
- Leave an accident scene
- Fail to identify themselves to other individuals who were involved in the accident
- Damage personal property (such as a vehicle) or injure someone else.
For a state prosecutor to secure a conviction against the accused driver, the prosecutor must satisfy all three legal elements.
Our experienced legal team can help you determine if you are eligible to raise one or more defenses in response to your hit and run charge. If so, we can argue the proper defenses in court on your behalf and help you pursue a complete dismissal of your case.
What are the Potential Penalties for a Hit and Run Conviction in California?
If a California state prosecutor ultimately obtains a conviction against you for a hit and run, you may be subject to various penalties under the California Penal Code.
In many situations, state prosecutors will bring these charges as a misdemeanor. However, if the hit and run accident leads to one or more physical injuries, a prosecutor can charge the crime as a misdemeanor or felony offense. Under California law, this type of crime is called a wobbler offense.
If the state prosecutor brings a hit and run charge as a misdemeanor, the accused individual can receive a maximum of one year of incarceration in a county jail and/or a maximum monetary fine of $10,000. However, if the state prosecutor brings the charge as a felony and they obtain a conviction, the accused may be subject to a maximum of four years in a California state prison and/or a $10,000 monetary fine.
In addition to these potential legal penalties, convicted hit and run offenders may face several collateral consequences that affect various aspects of their lives. For example, with a criminal conviction on their record, the offender may lose their job or a college may not admit them due to criminal background checks. An offender may also suffer harm to their personal or professional reputation in the community.
If a state prosecutor obtains a conviction against you in a hit and run case, then the Orange County defense attorneys at Chudnovsky Law can help. We can represent you at your criminal sentencing hearing before a judge and argue for a fair penalty on your behalf. We can also lessen or eliminate the collateral consequences that you experience due to your criminal hit and run conviction.
Defending Against a Criminal Hit and Run Charge
An accused individual can raise several legal defenses in response to a criminal hit and run charge.
First, the accused person can contend that did not drive the vehicle involved in the collision. If someone else drove that vehicle, you can raise that fact as a defense to your charge.
Next, you can argue that you didn't know about damage to the other individual's vehicle at the time of the accident. Alternatively, you can allege that you had no knowledge the other individual suffered any physical injuries in the accident. By alleging one or both of these defenses, you can prevent the state prosecutor from establishing the necessary legal elements of their case.
You can also assert that you did not intentionally leave the scene of the accident. For instance, you can contend that during the accident, you lost consciousness, one of your vehicle passengers became upset, and that they sped away after pushing you out of the driver's seat.
You can also argue that you did not intentionally fail or refuse to provide requested information, such as your name, address, or vehicle registration number. Finally, you might contend that you did not provide the other individual with necessary and reasonable assistance for a valid reason, such as a faulty seat belt trapped you inside your vehicle and you were unable to exit your vehicle.
Our experienced legal team can review your case with you. Then, if your case goes to trial, we can raise the proper defenses on your behalf and pursue a complete dismissal of your criminal case.
Speak With an Orange County Hit and Run Lawyer About Your Case Today
If you face a criminal charge for a hit and run, immediately take the necessary legal steps to secure qualified legal counsel. Otherwise, you may hurt your chances of obtaining a favorable case result.
At Chudnovsky Law, our qualified legal team can help you make important decisions throughout your case and represent you in all legal proceedings. You need legal counsel with you at your trial and other criminal court hearings. If you attend your court hearing without a lawyer representing you, a judge can make you go forward with your hearing without legal counsel. They have this discretion in criminal matters, and even briefly, proceeding without a defense lawyer can significantly hurt your case and future.
Our legal team can aggressively represent you at all legal proceedings and secure the best possible result in your criminal case. We explore every possible defense option for our clients.