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Hit And Run Attorney - Stopping the Investigation with the Officer and Fighting Your Hit and Run Charge in Orange County Superior Court.  

Hiring a Hit and Run Attorney Makes all the Difference 

The Law Offices of Hieu Vu in Tustin have the experience needed for your hit and run case. If you are charged or facing a hit and run, call the Law Office of Hieu Vu for an initial consultation (714)589-3063. Because of the nature of these charges and the ongoing investigations, we also do telephone consultations on hit and runs.

If you did a hit and run in Orange County, you will need a local criminal defense lawyer. A local attorney will know the officers and the department in your case. A local Hit and Run Attorney is vital to stop the charges from moving forward if you are the hit and run driver and stop the legal penalties from happening.

How Can a Lawyer Help You After a Hit-and-Run Accident in Orange County?


A Proper Legal Defense can keep your case out of the local courts if early action s taken.

If action is taken then, you can exercise your right to remain silent. By doing this, an experienced defense lawyer can stop the investigating officer from identifying you as the driver of the vehicle. Even with the investigating officer taking your car into impound with the threat of holding it indefinitely, this is the case.

Having a hit and run defense lawyer in orange county will help you with the insurance company.

An attorney with criminal defense experience will help you deal with the property damage and your insurance company on your hit and run without getting you into trouble.

The ultimate goal will be to get you out of money and criminal trouble at the same time. People will often feel tempted not to hire a defense law firm for their hit and run and lie to the insurance company, resulting in fraud. However, it is also hard to talk about the case while it is still being investigated.


Table of Contents


Infographic showing what to do if you are the subject of a hit and run

If you suspected of a Hit and Run then there are things you need to do to keep out of trouble.

Hit and Run  - What Can Happen in Orange County?

A hit and run in Orange County will carry criminal, civil, and driver license issues with the DMV.


There is potential for jail time on a hit and run, and it is significant if there is an injury.

What kind of Criminal Penalties is a person looking at for a hit and run charge in Orange County? A misdemeanor offense for a hit and run in California carries with it a maximum of 6 months to a year in jail if there is property damage only and can go higher if it is a felony charge or a person was hurt with the need for medical attention. Severe penalties are reserved for when a person is injured.


A Hit and Run Conviction can trigger immigration Consequences. 

A Conviction for a will trigger Potential immigration consequences for non-citizens. It is essential to explore every option, including lesser offenses, when resolving a hit and run charge to avoid and stop any potential immigration consequences that will come from a hit and run.



What happens if you are guilty of   felony hit and run?

Hit and Run criminal offenses can become felonies when a person is injured in the crime. A Physical injury will make your hit and run into one with injury. Depending on if sustained injuries are severe enough, it can be a felony. Head injuries or broken bones are considered serious bodily injuries.


In addition to the hefty penalties and court-assessed penalties by the courts, a felony hit and run will carry potential restitution penalties. Restitution will become a condition of probation which means that you will be subjected to violations if it is not paid. There are additional penalties and heavier penalties as well which come in jail time. If you are guilty of a felony hit and run, you are looking at an exposure of up to three years in state prison.




 

If you have a clean record then a conviction will result in a Criminal record. 

A court conviction in Orange County for a misdemeanor or felony hit and run will result in a criminal record. 


A Hit and Run Defense Attorney will help you Deal with the Civil issues at play too.

The possibility is real. If you hit a person and cause bodily injury and took off, there are medical bills and significant property issues at play.


You are also on the hook for civil damages for property in a hit and run case. Furthermore, the fact that you ran from the scene will indicate that you were at fault.


Suppose you are the registered owner of the vehicle, regardless of whether you or not you were driving an Insurance provider. In that case, the other side's accident attorneys (personal injury law) will be asking for your auto insurance policy to get their client's medical expenses paid.


Restitution to the property owner will be required if you are convicted of a hit and run. You will need to pay for any damage to property that you caused. You will only need to pay for actual property damage. However, the problem is the victim may embellish about the extent of property damage. This comes in the form of the type of property that was damaged. For example, a premium laptop that costs $5000.00 will appear mysteriously inside the property owner's car after being hit.



Lying to the Insurance Company about Not driving is Fraud

You will find yourself in a situation where you do not want to be on the hook financially for the crash and have the insurance company pay for the damages but also do not want to be tagged as the driver. Do not lie to the insurance company as this will only lead to insurance fraud which increases the penalties. People often make their misdemeanor into a felony offense by thinking they can lie to their liability insurance company for the vehicle repair cost.


An officer will impound your car in hopes of getting you to confess to the Hit and Run.

An officer will use the tactic of impounding your car to get you to tell them what is going on. They want to know if you were driving and why you took off. If you identify yourself as the driver, you will be charged with a hit and run and convicted. On the other hand, if you choose not to cooperate, they will hold on to your car and rack up towing fees of 60 dollars a day.

You will need an experienced attorney to get fend off the officers, get everyone paid without, handle any outstanding warrant from the officer and avoid the criminal conviction and any penalties from the crash.


The two additional points on your DMV record can result in a DMV Suspension.


Other licensing issues involve the points with a hit and run crash. They count as 2 for DMV purposes. This means that if there were already 2 before the hit and run, then the two additional points will result in a negligent driver hearing with the local driver safety office.

a letter send from Orange county district attorneys office to a hit and run defendant

Stay out of jail

Make an appointment and stay out of jail

Should I get a hit and run defense lawyer in Orange County?

Yes. Make a confidential consultation with our office and stay out of jail after a hit and run crash, especially if you were under the influence of drugs and have injured people.

Do most hit and run drivers get caught?

If they can't be identified then it can't be proven.

It is 50/50. Suppose a defense attorney or law firm gets involved after the hit and run accident. In that case, they can get their clients to exercise their constitutional rights, thus lowering the officer's chances of identifying the offending driver.

Think Twice about trying outsmart the police officer.

You need to have a proper strategy if you are invited to the station for a few questions for a hit and run. Just as you should not step into the ring with a trained boxer with no training, you should not try to play games with an officer trained to interrogate.

The Typical Hit and Run Scenario in Orange County

Most of these hits and runs start as a minor traffic collision which would be nothing more than a stop and exchange of information.

The Collision

Traffic collisions such as running a red light, distracted driving, cell phone use, or other traffic laws happen. Other times it is because of driving the influence of alcohol (drunk driving). It gets complicated when one causes an accident which leads to one party running off.

Duty to Stop

There is a duty to stop and give reasonable assistance, aid or identify yourself and exchange insurance policy/auto insurance. By doing this, you are giving time to the injured person if they need medical assistance.


Not doing so can result in law enforcement looking for you or even looking at the person who is the registered owner of the vehicle you were driving to file criminal charges.

Drivers are supposed to stop after an accident and exchange information regardless of who was at fault. This does not happen. People think it is okay as long as you stop immediately after the accident or turn yourself into the accident the next day.

Just leaving is Wrong.

However, the duty to stop and render aid or identify oneself is absolute failure to do so result in a misdemeanor conviction and a negative record on your driving record. You should never contact law enforcement or return the officer's voicemail.

The Investigation

A traffic investigator from the local police department will visit the accident scene give the registered owner of the vehicle a call. They will drop by the house of the registered owner of the car or give a call to find out who the driver was. They will often be clued in by who the driver is by the belonging in the vehicle that was left at the accident scene.

 
In Costa Mesa, it is currently Officer Bao, and in Garden Grove, it is presently Officer Ashby. Their job is to find out what happened with the accident and get the victims cared for financially by collecting insurance information. However, by admitting you were the driver, you open yourself up to a hit and run investigation.

The need for a hit and run defense lawyer in Orange County

Another reason to hire a Hit and Run Defense Attorney is to stop the hit and run charges from moving forward if you are the hit and run driver. It's important to have the proper legal advice and develop the attorney client relationship to put together an effective defense when dealing with vehicle accidents or reckless driving.

picture showing citation from the laguna beach police departmetn for a hit and run

An experienced hit and run defense lawyer in Orange County will stop you from being Arrested and keep you out of Jail.

The first is not to let the investigation move forward after the hit and run accident scene. The reality of hit and run laws in California is that people do not stop identifying themselves or providing medical attention. This makes it hard for the prosecution to prove their case and can be used to your advantage. Having a defense team will help you navigate the system and avoid the felony conviction for failing to render medical assistance.

picture showing hit and run charges against a person filed by the orange county distrcit attorneys office
Proving Who is the Driver is Difficult in a California Hit and Run Case

The reality is that the registered owner of the car is not always the driver involved. Often, the driver is the son or daughter of the owner, and they are only driving their parent's cars. This results in them getting in a traffic accident and sending the police to the registered owner's address. A Hit and Run Attorney or criminal defense attorney will be able to take advantage of this for you.


Depending on the living arrangement of the people involved, this can get more complicated. Because It is not always the person who owns the car driving it and gets into a traffic accident, this leads to the wrong person being put under the radar even with an eye witness and police report.


For example, a dad may own a car and lend it to his son, who commits a hit and run. This will result in the police running the license plate and returning to the dad, and questioning him. Hence, the dad will feel that he has no choice but to give up his son or know what will lead police to the driver.

The second thing to not do in a hit and run is don't confess to the police officer. No matter what. If they have your car, don't say he was you. Don't talk to them. Check out a bit of the video about what to do when a police officer contacts you. The last thing you need to do is say you were driving their car. Don't do that return that voicemail.

Just Leaving the Scene is a Crime and Other Hit and Run Facts

The problem with leaving the scene of a property damage accident without stopping is that it is a misdemeanor crime in Orange County.

Even if you were not at fault, you still must stop.

Your duty to stop is absolute regardless of whether or not you were at fault. A person could not leave the scene of an accident without assisting a person in injured even if it was the other person's fault. Controlling case here is that Whether the injured party was a fault is irrelevant in determining a conviction under California's hit and run laws. People v. Mace (Cal. App. 5th Dist. Aug. 24, 2011) contact a Hit and Run Attorney if this happened to you.

What is the difference between hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident?

There is no difference. This is the case even if the person had no intention of running off but was merely scared. It happens a lot with younger drivers in college. These drivers have never been in an accident, so they get nervous on their first accident, and the fight or flight instinct kicks in, and many drivers run off. However, on the other hand, a lot of drivers get agitated and start arguing and confrontational. This can be an excuse for one party to take off, especially if it would lead to more escalation. For example, there is an accident, and the other party is agitated and is impossible to talk to. If this is the case, then this can be used to your advantage to dismiss your case.

To Further Complicate things, people do not always know that they hit something and thus have a duty to stop. For example, a person may be driving and feel a small bump and not realize anything, then continue driving off. This is the beginning of every hit and run. Also, if there was no valid license, then this complicates things. This happens when an unlicensed person may cause a car wreck and break out running on foot because they do not want to be caught driving with no license.


Not Knowing the Law is Not an Excuse

Hit and runs happen a lot with people who are not familiar with this country's laws. It is customary for people to stop in other countries if there is an accident and move on if the damage is minor. For example, a dad from Japan is here visiting and borrows a car to get around town. He gets into a finder binder in the parking lot, stops looking, sees the damage as minimal, and takes off. When this happens, he has committed a misdemeanor even though he stopped. Also, even if he took off and went to the police the next day, it is still a misdemeanor. The duty to stop and render aid and identify is absolute. Unfortunately, not dealing with a problem can lead to more trouble.

picture showing arrrest warrant that is mailed out in Orange County

The Law Enables Police Officers to Take Your Car

How long does it take for a hit and run investigation?

The first of several problems California Hit and Runs laws for the driver is that the victim will call the police. When this happens, and the crime is reported. The police will only get one version of the story. This one-sided version is always prejudiced against the driver in the case. In addition to this, the police will also have their minds about who the person at fault is because of the fleeing. This never ends up nicely for the person being investigated for and a hit and run. This is why it is vital to one does not to incriminate themselves while talking with the police. An officer will have the state's resources at his disposal. He will use the computer to look up DMV registration to find out who a car is registered and where the owner lives. Also, California hit and run law Section 22665 gives an officer the power to take your vehicle into his possession.

  • “(a) When any peace officer, as that term is defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code
  • or any regularly employed and salaried employee who is engaged in directing traffic or enforcing parking statutes and regulations, has reasonable cause to believe that a motor vehicle on a highway or on private property open to the general public onto which the public is explicitly or implicitly invited, located within the territorial limits in which the officer is empowered to act, has been involved in a hit–and–run accident, and the operator of the vehicle has failed to stop and comply with Sections 20002 to 20006, inclusive, the officer may remove the vehicle from the highway or from public or private property for the purpose of inspection”

This law gives an officer the power to take your car away and hold onto it. It is a common tactic among police officers to hold onto a car until and make the driver confess that he was driving.
But The third thing that you should not do while being investigated for hit and run is don't believe the police officer that you cannot get your car back. This is the most basic trick out there. They hold your car hostage and hopes that you say that you are driving. They're going to say; I'm not going to give back the car until you talk to me. There's a vehicle code out there that protects you from that type of interrogation. Don't fall for it. Get some professional help. Get your car back, talk to your insurance the right way. There's a way to do it so that way it doesn't harm your case. It's crucial that you contact a Hit and Run Attorney and not let the officer intimidate you into confessing by using your car as bait.

Police holding on to your car for a Hit and Run?

Get your car back and fight your Hit and Run Investigation

You can be Convicted of a Hit and Run even if You weren't driving

Courts have also held that you can be convicted of a hit and run even if you were not driving at the time. For example, you are the car owner, you were riding in it at the time, and had actual control over where it was going, and that the car hit or killed someone and did not stop, then the courts have held this would be enough. People v. Odom (Cal. App. Mar. 18, 1937), 19 Cal. App. 2d 641. However, the main question is whether or not you had control over the vehicle. These are the facts that must be established for the prosecution to make their case against you. For example, you go out drinking and have a designated driver (DD). The DD hits a person and panics, and you yell out to the driver to keep ongoing. You can be convicted under the hit and run laws of California for this.

Getting Insurance to Fix Your Car without exposing yourself for the Hit and Run

Stay out of Trouble and Fixing Your Car

Have your cake and eat it too. 

The Dilemma You just got into a hit and run. You're on the phone with their insurance company. You don't know what to say when you want them to pay for their car, but you don't want the police to see that it was you who was driving. The first thing is that you may be tempted to say that somebody else was driving your car because you're under investigation. When you talk to the insurance company, don't do this. This is the worst thing you can do by lying to the insurance company. You are committing another crime of insurance fraud. You've just upgraded your misdemeanor hit and run to a felony Insurance fraud. Don't do this.

Another problem with hit and run collisions is dealing with insurance. It's easy to want to get your car fixed after an accident. People will call their insurance company and admit they were driving. This fills in the important part that they were driving the vehicle. However, the other part is that a person may decide not to say they were driving to avoid detection by the police and instead say a 3rd party was driving. This will result in a new crime of insurance fraud. The goal here is to have insurance cover and get away from the investigation if possible. It's important to have an experienced hit and run attorney who deals with the local police departments and is familiar with dealing with insurance companies.

A hit and run defense lawyer in Orange County Gets the Cops Off You.

There are pros and cons to hiring an attorney for your hit and run case.

A Hit and Run Attorney will be an investment.

The biggest con for hiring an attorney for your hit and run is the cost. The average price to get you out of trouble will run you around $2800.00-$3200 for a misdemeanor. The charges will be more if the facts show more severity. For example, there was a wrongful death, a pedestrian hit, and the need for medical treatment resulting in a felony hit and run charges.

Picture showing Hit and Run attorney getting charges dismissed by Law office of Hieu Vu

Advantages of a Hit and Run Defense Lawyer in Orange County.

However, the pros of hiring an attorney for your case outweigh the cons heavily, especially if you have a clean criminal record or are on probation.

A Hit and Run Defense Attorney can Stop the Conviction on your Case

An attorney can mean the difference in your fines, possible jail time, and going thru the proper legal process. An attorney will represent in court and the investigation. Many people do not know how to represent themselves in court and often say the wrong things, which results in a criminal record.

Suppose the police are still trying to contact you. In that case, this is the most crucial time to get help because putting a stop to the investigation can mean the difference between having a criminal prosecution started by the Orange County District Attorneys Office filed against you by their prosecution team and not having a case filed. This is accomplished via the right to remain silent and have an attorney at the time of questioning. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor hit and run in Orange County is 1 year in jail. For a Felony, there is prison time. It is a year or more in prison. Factors that can affect whether a charge is a felony prison sentence involved or a misdemeanor is whether or not there was an injury involved and the severity of the accident—defenses to Hit and Run.

A Hit and Run Attorney Will Put the Prosecution's Case to the Test. 

Hit and run accident cases are not open and shut issues. The police have the burden of proof that there was a collision and that a certain was driving the car. Oftentimes, a victim or witness would not be able to identify the driver because things happen so fast and there are no surveillance cameras. Other times even if people were identified, there are still other avenues to get a case dismissed with the help of a hit and run lawyer. Such ways include having the hit and run driver do civil compromise to pay for medical bills or cash payment, so the accident victim does not have to make an insurance claim. This keeps everyone happy, and nobody has to use their insurance coverage, and the officer can close out his file.

Taking Your Case to Jury Trial if a Reasonable Offer is Not Reached. 

Also, a Hit and Run Attorney in Orange County can take your case to a jury trial. You are entitled to put on a defense at trial. The prosecution team will put on their best case against you, and my Law Office will ensure you get a fair trial on your hit and run case. Even if a conviction sticks, we can still make sure you go thru the expungement process to ensure you have a clean criminal record. Call our office today for a telephone consultation on your hit and run case.

As Seen On

Recent Hit and Run Results - 
A history of Success

Client Crashes Car on Freeway and Runs

  • Client was on DUI probation,  crashed car, was DUI
  • CHP came to registered owners house in middle of night
  • Client ran off on foot
  • NO CHARGES FILED

On DUI Probation, Suspended License,

  • Car Towed
  • Able to get back car
  • No charges filed on Client
  • Client brought us on before talking with police 

OCC Student changes lane into car

  • No Charges Filed
  • Caught on Camera
  • Insurance reimbursed victim
  • No Charges Filed

Collision on freeway 

  • Client accsued of rear ending another on 405 freeway.  Hieu Vu stopped the investigation by having client invoke rights
  • Police came to house and wanted to talk with Client. 
  • No Charges Filed

Public Intoxication - Huntington Beach

  • Intoxicated Client, passed out on Beach Blvd divider with soiled clothes. 
  • Case Dismissed

Collision In Tustin

  • Male Driver  got into Accident Driver and Drove Off
  • Registered Owner was contacted
  • Got Victim Paid Off and Car Fixed
  • No Charges Filed

When NO CONVICTION is the only option.

Testimonials from Clients in Orange County 

Trustworthy

Great lawyer I got 2 d.u.I.'s back to back and he managed to keep me out of jail, worked with me all the way through it and gided me through the process. Not expensive and gave me a chance on making payments what more could I ask for in a lawyer!!

Nacho

Goes Above and Beyond

“EAbout a year ago I made the great mistake of getting a DUI right after getting my degree as a registered nurse. At first I was apprehensive whether or not to get an attorney, because I was already in debt from med school. So I spoke to a handful of lawyers, and after speaking with Hieu, I knew right away this was the man I needed - a decision I did not regret it once..”

Danielle P

About Me.

“To the client, every angle is important, there’s a number of questions, and each person also have their own worries. Some will need a person to listen to them. At the end of the day, it’s more than just delivering legal results. I put a 110% into every person I work. I strive to make sure everyone knows what is going on and is kept in the loop as the case goes on. The practice of law is more than just getting the results in court.” -Hieu Vu


Get in Touch

Have your case reviewed by Hieu Vu. It's important to know what the prosecutors are planning do. Each case is different and every case needs a unique defense strategy.

Contact Details

  • 18002 Irvine Blvd #108 , Tustin , CA, 92780, USA
  • 7145893063