DUI Hit and Run - Frequently Asked Questions
In certain situations, a driver may be charged with both a DUI offense as well as hit and run. These cases are taken very seriously by prosecutors and judges and penalties can potentially be very severe. The following are some of the more frequent questions that people have when dealing with both DUI and hit and run charges.Can I Be Charged with Both Hit and Run and DUI?
People often ask if they can be charged with both a DUI offense and a hit and run from the same incident. Drivers who are involved in a DUI collision and then are alleged to have left the scene of the collision can be charged with both crimes, and it is not unusual to see a criminal complaint alleging violations of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC (DUI) and California Vehicle Code Section 20002(a) (hit and run).
An officer may respond to a collision and may be able to quickly locate and apprehend the alleged hit and run driver. Drivers can be charged with hit and run if they drive away from a collision scene or even if they simply walk away. If the police quickly locate the alleged hit and run driver and believe that the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the suspect will also face DUI charges.How Can the Police Prove a Hit and Run Driver Was Under the Influence at the Time of Driving?
In many DUI cases, the officer will actually observe a DUI suspect driving and then pull that driver over. In hit and run incidents, it may be more difficult to prove that a suspect was driving a vehicle and was under the influence at the time of driving.
In such cases, investigators will rely on witness statements placing the suspect as the driver of the vehicle. In addition, the suspect will be asked questions about whether or not they were driving and whether or not they had been drinking earlier. In cases where a hit and run driver is immediately caught, it may be easier to prove that he or she was under the influence at the time of driving. When a driver is not found until much later, it may be more difficult to prove that the suspect was legally intoxicated when he or she was involved in a DUI collision. This especially becomes difficult if the suspect consumed alcohol after the collision occurred but before coming into contact with law enforcement.Is It Ever Permissible to Leave the Scene of a Collision?
Under the law, a driver who has been involved in a traffic collision has an obligation to remain at the scene of the collision and to exchange insurance and other information with the other parties involved. Failure to remain at the scene will result in hit and run charges.
However, in some circumstances a driver may be able to raise certain legal defenses to hit and run. In some situations, a driver involved in a collision may face an immediate threat of physical violence from other people involved in the accident or at the scene. In this situation, a driver may able to raise a duress defense if charged with hit and run, as he or she left the scene only to avoid the immediate threat. This would not be a defense to DUI and the driver would still be criminally liable for this offense.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a DUI and hit and run offense, it is imperative that you discuss your case with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands this complex area of the law and works hard to ensure his clients receive the best representation possible.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and hit and run, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.