Being accused of a hit-and-run in Colorado can be a daunting experience. It is a serious offense that can result in significant legal consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. Suppose the police charge you with hit and run. If so, you will want to seek out seasoned legal representation, speak to law enforcement or the prosecution only after you get that legal representation, and attend all court hearings. Taking immediate action to protect your legal rights and defend yourself against these charges is essential to minimize or eliminate any potential negative consequences.
Steps to Take if Falsely Accused of Hit and Run
Being accused of a hit and run is stressful and worrisome. Understanding what to do in this unfortunate situation can help lessen your anxiety. Here are three essential steps to take if you’re wrongly accused of a hit and run in Colorado.
Seek Legal Representation
It is essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible if you are accused of a hit and run. A skilled criminal defense attorney can protect your legal rights, help you navigate the legal system, help you understand the charges against you, and develop a strong defense strategy. Also, your attorney can advise you on when to speak to the police or the prosecutor, as detailed below.
Do Not Speak with the Police or Prosecutors
It’s crucial to remember that anything you say to the police or prosecutors can be used against you in court. Therefore, you should not speak with them without your attorney present. Doing so can be dangerous because the prosecutor can take even seemingly innocent statements and turn them around to use against you.
Your legal counsel can advise you on when to speak to the prosecutor and can prepare you for the questions they will likely ask. This gives you a chance to think through your responses and plan how you want to answer so as not to unnecessarily incriminate yourself. This preparation is essential because how you answer can make your case easier or harder to defend and can ultimately affect the outcome of your case.
Attend All Court Appearances
You must attend all court appearances if you are charged with a hit and run in Colorado. Failure to appear in court can result in the judge issuing a warrant for your arrest and additional legal consequences. Your attorney can advise you on what to expect during your court appearances and how to prepare for them.
Potential Criminal Charges and Penalties
Leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges that vary depending on the severity of the incident. Under Colorado law, if a person is involved in an accident, they have a legal obligation to remain at the scene and assist any injured parties. Failure to do so can result in criminal charges. Let’s look at the potential criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident.
Class 2 Misdemeanor
If the accident only resulted in property damage, leaving the scene of the accident may result in a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. The potential penalties include a fine of up to $750 and up to 120 days in jail.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
If the accident resulted in injury to another person, leaving the scene of the accident may result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. The potential penalties include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 364 days in jail.
Class 5 Felony
If the accident resulted in serious bodily injury to another person, leaving the scene of the accident may result in a Class 5 felony charge. The potential penalties include a fine of up to $100,000 and up to 36 months in prison.
Class 4 Felony
If the accident resulted in the death of another person, leaving the scene of the accident may result in a Class 4 felony charge. The potential penalties include a fine of up to $500,000 and up to 6 years in prison.
It is important to note that if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the accident, they may face additional charges and penalties. Additionally, if the driver has a prior conviction for leaving the scene of an accident or another related offense, the penalties for the current violation may be more severe.
How to Prove Innocence in a Hit-and-Run Case?
If you have been accused of a hit and run in Colorado, there are several defenses that you may be able to use to prove your innocence. Let’s discuss some potential defenses that may be applicable to your case.
Lack of Knowledge
One defense to a hit-and-run charge is to argue that you were unaware you were involved in an accident. For example, if you were in a crowded parking lot and did not realize that you had hit another car, you may be able to argue that you didn’t know about the accident.
Lack of Intent
Another defense is to argue that you did not intend to flee the accident scene. For example, if you were in a state of shock or panic after the accident and left the scene without realizing what you were doing, you may be able to argue that you did not intend to leave the scene.
If you left the accident scene to seek emergency medical attention or to report the accident to the police, you may be able to argue that you had a valid reason for leaving the scene. For instance, if your passenger was injured in the crash and you thought you could get to the emergency room faster than waiting for an ambulance, you may be justified in leaving the scene.
If there is a possibility of mistaken identity, you may be able to argue that you were not the driver involved in the accident. For example, if the witness or victim could not clearly identify the driver, you might be able to argue that it was not you.
Lack of Evidence
If the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove that you were involved in the accident, you may be able to argue that there is not enough evidence to support a hit-and-run charge.
It’s important to note that every case is unique, and the available defenses will depend on the case’s specific circumstances. If you have been accused of a hit and run, seeking legal representation to explore your options and protect your rights is vital.
Hit-and-Run Colorado Defense Attorney
If you are falsely accused of hit and run in Colorado, you need sharp, experienced counsel to avoid facing penalties for a crime you did not commit. At Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., we have two decades of experience representing individuals accused of crimes. We are always available to take your call. Contact us day or night to schedule a free, confidential consultation.