The Right to Remain Silent
When the police read someone his/her Miranda rights, they are issuing a warning. That warning states “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Suspects do maintain a right to remain silent. The police even tell them of that right when reading the Miranda warnings. Invoking that right and allowing an attorney to handle all questions and answers could work in the favor of someone under arrest for hit and run.
Yet, under stress, people start taking to the police and try to explain the situation with the hope of avoiding arrest. Rather than making the situation better for themselves, they dig a much bigger and deeper hole. Attempts to explain the situation could even include an admission of guilt. That admission and other statements are documented by the police and entered into evidence during a trial. Once you make a statement, they cannot be taken back.
To speak candidly with an attorney is another matter altogether. Under the law, an attorney’s statements cannot be used against a client. No one should feel nervous about discussing the specifics of the case with his/her attorney. Speaking with an attorney is protected under “attorney/client” privilege rules. Outside of limited circumstances, your attorney cannot be forced to divulge conversations about the case that could hurt you in court.
Additionally, an attorney is hardly going to make statements that hurt a client’s defense. A criminal defense lawyer deals with the police, judges, and district attorneys on a consistent basis. The person accused of wrongdoing may be dealing with these professionals for the first time. When facing serious criminal charges in the California courts, making mistakes due to inexperience may prove costly.
Attorneys Acquire Documents for the Defense
Preparing a defense requires a great deal of work. Attorneys know what documents to request such as police reports and other evidence. Perhaps there is dash cam or security camera footage of the incident. A defense attorney could request these and other items in preparation for the defense.
Attorney also take statements from witnesses. The credibility of witness statements factors heavily in the ability for the witness to impact a judge and/or jury. Hazy recollections or inaccuracies might be pointed out by a defense attorney.
The police are sure to respond to the attorneys request in a timely and professional manner. If problems or issues arise, an attorney will know how to address the situation. Without a doubt, it would be in the best interest of a client to hire an attorney when charged with a hit and run violation. Attorneys know how to work with the police.
The accused could not possibly be able to handle the tasks and duties an attorney performs. Considering the dire consequences of a conviction, professional legal representation becomes critically important.
Hit and Run Charges in California
In California, a hit and run can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. When the hit and run involves an accident resulting in property damage, the accused may be charged with a misdemeanor. If someone was injured or killed, then the hit and run would be charged as an accident. Felony hit and run comes with a much more serious punishment. Heavy fines and prison time could be in the future of someone convicted of felony hit and run.
Convictions of both misdemeanors and felonies lead to permanent criminal records. This is regardless of how severe or lenient the punishment levied is. So, it is vital those charged with a hit and run take the situation very seriously and retain the services of the best possible attorney.
Again, retaining an attorney may be the only way for someone charged with a hit and run violation to experience a positive outcome.