If you’ve been the perpetrator of a hit and run, it’s imperative that you consult with an attorney before taking another further action. The mistakes you can make trying to resolve the problem on your own without legal counsel can only make a bad situation worse.
A hit and run can involve minor accidents or serious wrecks where a person continues driving afterward without stopping and exchanging information with the other driver. Some of the reasons a driver may leave the scene include:
Believing the damage was minimal
Fear of higher insurance premiums
Fear of points against his or her driver’s license
A hit and run can have serious consequences. If you have left the scene of an accident, you might be inclined to try to make things right and go to the police station by yourself. Do not admit fault — this could be a big mistake. Once you admit to the crime, the police usually have an obligation to refer the case to the prosecutor’s office and you lose any negotiating power you may have had by providing the prosecutor with an airtight case.
After a confession the prosecutor typically files a criminal charge, which can be either a misdemeanor or felony hit and run charges, depending on the severity of the injuries. The other people involved in the accident urge the prosecutor to take strong measures against you.
A better strategy is to consult with an experienced attorney immediately. He or she will usually advise you not to speak with anyone about the accident. Your lawyer can assist you in talking to the police and trying to negotiate a favorable outcome. If the police do want to interview you or take your statement, your lawyer will be present to protect your rights. If the matter proceeds to court, at least the prosecutor will have to prove the case with evidence provided by other persons and he or she won’t have the benefit of your confession on the record. This will usually allow for a more favorable resolution for you.
So don’t hit and run but, if you do, seek legal counsel immediately.