There are many excuses regarding why a motorist leaves the scene of an accident. These can include fear of consequences, lack of insurance, no driver’s licence, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you have been accused of a hit and run, it is not helpful to provide an excuse and dwell on what you should have done.
What is obvious is that you need an accident lawyer to represent you in court because, depending on individual circumstances, such a serious charge could warrant the loss of your driver’s licence, hefty fines, and even jail time. Below are 4 ways a lawyer can help you when facing a hit and run accusation and help mitigate the potential consequences that you face.
1. Skill & experience
If you have been charged in relation to a hit and run, the accusations against you are not something that you can defend by yourself. As mentioned, the maximum penalty for such a charge can be jail time and it could be a lengthy sentence if other parties were injured or killed. Therefore, it is unlikely you want to take the chance of representing yourself.
When you are facing charges related to a hit and run accident, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. This lawyer will be skilled and experienced in defending people charged with offences similar to yours. A lawyer will be able to review all documentation related to your case and advise you on whether you should attempt to seek a plea deal or take the matter to trial.
When you represent yourself after a hit and run accident, you are obligated to speak to police and insurance companies. These parties have mandates to investigate the accident and lay charges if applicable and determine liability and amount of compensation respectively. It is also part of their jobs to try and use whatever you say against you in a court of law. To prevent them from doing so and making your situation worse, you need effective representation.
Hiring a lawyer to represent you means that police and insurance companies are no longer able to speak to you without your lawyer present. This lawyer will represent you when dealing with them in regards to your case.
Hit and run situations are usually pretty straight-forward. A motorist hits a pedestrian or another vehicle and leaves the scene of the accident. However, sometimes it is not so cut and dry with hit and run defences including having to attend to an emergency or a lack of knowledge of even hitting anything. As a result, it is crucial that you hire a lawyer that can build a solid defence for you in an effort to have charges reduced or dismissed.
An experienced lawyer will have connections that can help in building you a solid defence. This often includes an independent accident investigator. These investigators can review your case as well as the scene, speak to witnesses, and provide testimony that can help your case.
4. Sentence reduction
Sometimes despite the best efforts of a defendant and his/her legal team, a court of law finds one guilty of offences relating to a hit and run accident. When this occurs, it is up to the defence lawyer to make arguments as to why a sentence should be lenient.
When you hire a lawyer, he/she can make arguments during the sentencing hearing as to why you should be able to avoid more severe penalties such as hefty fines and jail time. The lawyer will be able to comment on mitigating factors such as your family life, employment history, lack of criminal record, community activity, and any restitution made if applicable. Lawyers are used to making these arguments and will most likely be able to make them and represent you better than if you took on the task yourself.