Hit and run accidents can result in serious criminal charges.
If the accident involves an injury or fatality, the penalties increase. Defending yourself against hit and run allegations is generally not in your best interest.
Contact the experienced Indianapolis hit and run defense lawyers of Suhre & Associates, LLC.
We offer free case reviews. Discuss your legal rights and options for defending yourself against these charges.
Why Do I Need to Hire an Indianapolis Hit and Run Defense Lawyer?
Immediately after a car accident, you might not think clearly. You may be afraid of the potential consequences of causing an accident, especially if you are uninsured or driving without a license. You might have made a mistake.
The first step in defending yourself is hiring an experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorney. Here’s why Suhre & Associates, LLC should be your first call after you’re accused of a hit and run.
We Investigate Potential Defenses to the Charges
We want to hear your side of the story. Understandably, you might be filled with regret about what happened.
Regardless of what occurred, if you are charged with hit and run, you are innocent until the state proves otherwise. There could be one or more valid defenses to the charges.
Our Indianapolis hit and run defense lawyers explore potential defenses to hit and run allegations such as:
- You are not the driver who hit the other vehicle. The driver who was hit has identified the incorrect vehicle.
- Another person was driving your vehicle without your permission.
- You left the scene because you did not feel safe, but reported the collision as soon as possible.
- You were not aware that you had collided with another vehicle.
- The charges are not correct because the other driver’s injuries were not catastrophic.
- You were not aware that the accident caused injury or damage.
We’ll raise any argument that might benefit your defense.
We Have the Necessary Resources and Expertise You Need
A hit and run is a criminal charge. You need an attorney who understands the criminal justice system and the laws applicable to your charges to help you with your case.
You may be facing years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. Do you have a sufficient understanding of the law to defend yourself or the time and resources to conduct an investigation? If not, you need us.
We Analyze Your Case for Errors and Weaknesses
Police officers and prosecutors make mistakes. These mistakes could violate your constitutional rights. More importantly, these mistakes could result in a dismissal or reduction of charges.
Our Indianapolis hit and run lawyers will carefully analyze your case to identify the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. The prosecutor must prove the legal elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. By identifying the weaknesses of the case, we may use those weaknesses to create reasonable doubt.
Our Lawyers Negotiate on Your Behalf
A defendant without an attorney is an easy target for a prosecutor who wants to get a guilty verdict. If you try to negotiate a plea deal, the prosecutor may try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the law and the system.
However, prosecutors know our reputation as aggressive defense lawyers who fight for their clients inside and outside of the courtroom. A prosecutor is not as likely to try to sneak something past us as he would if you were handling the negotiations. In many cases, a prosecutor is more likely to negotiate a fair plea deal after we point out the weaknesses in the state’s case.
What Does it Mean to Hit and Run in Indianapolis?
Under IC §9-26-1-1.1, a driver involved in an accident must do the following:
- Stop and the scene of the accident or as close as possible to the crash site;
- Remain at the accident scene and provide the other motorist with the driver’s name, address, registration number, and driver’s license information;
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone who is injured or trapped in a vehicle as directed by a police officer, 911 operator, or medical personnel; and,
- Immediately report the accident to the police or call 911.
If the collision involved an unattended vehicle or property other than a vehicle, the driver must take reasonable steps to notify the owner. If the owner cannot be located, the driver should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to report the required information regarding the collision.
“Hit and run” is the common term used to describe a situation in which a driver leaves the scene of an accident without performing the required duties required by law.
What are the Charges for Hit and Run in Indianapolis?
If a driver intentionally or knowingly fails to comply with the legal requirements regarding an accident, the motorist can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident or hit and run is generally a Class B misdemeanor.
However, certain factors can increase the level of charges for a hit and run.
Hit and Run Causing Bodily Injury: Hit and run accidents involving bodily injury can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Level 6 felony if the bodily injury is serious.
Hit and Run Causing Catastrophic Injury or Death: If a person sustains a catastrophic injury or is killed in a hit and run accident, the charges increase to a Level 4 felony. Hit and run drivers who are intoxicated face a Level 3 felony charge for hit and run accidents involving catastrophic injury or death.
It is important to understand that a separate criminal charge may be filed for each person who is injured or killed in a hit and run accident. The court may also require the person to serve consecutive terms of imprisonment for multiple hit and run convictions.
What are the Punishments for a Hit and Run in Indianapolis?
The penalties for a hit and run in Indianapolis depend on the charge. Each charge can result in fines, jail, prison, and license suspension, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but can still result in jail time and a criminal record. Most Class B misdemeanors result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the hit and run involved an injury, the charge moves to a Class A misdemeanor or Level 6 felony.
The potential sentence for a Class A misdemeanor increases to up to 365 days in jail and a fine up to $5,000. If you are charged with a Level 6 felony for a hit and run, you could face up to two and one-half years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Hit and run drivers who cause a fatality or catastrophic injuries could face up to 16 years in prison.
Aggravating factors can increase the severity of the penalty at any level. Because hit and run penalties can result in substantial prison sentences, it is always in your best interest to consult an Indianapolis hit and run accident attorney as soon as possible.
How Can I Help My Attorney With My Defense?
There are several ways you can help your attorney build a strong defense to hit and run charges.
Don’t Talk to the Police
Do not help the police build a case against you. Talking to the police without an attorney cannot help your case. The police are not your friends and they cannot promise you a lower charge or lesser sentence if you “talk” or cooperate.
Contact an Attorney Immediately
Do not wait to contact our Indianapolis hit and run lawyers. Having an attorney involved in your case as early as possible improves your chances of success. An attorney helps you avoid mistakes that could hurt your case while investigating and gather evidence to help with your defense.
Be Honest with Your Defense Lawyer
Your attorney cannot provide effective representation if he does not know everything about your case. Answer all of your attorney’s questions completely and honestly. If anything changes that could impact your case, tell your lawyer immediately.
Stay in Touch with Your Attorney
Make sure to connect with your attorney periodically. If your lawyer requests information, make sure you respond immediately. If the court sets a deadline and your attorney cannot locate you, a judge could issue a warrant for your arrest.
Stay Off Social Media
Using social media during a criminal case is never advisable. Prosecutors can obtain social media content. Until your criminal case is resolved, do not post on social media or allow friends and family to post about you or tag you in posts.
Contact Our Indianapolis Hit and Run Attorneys Today
If you are charged with hit and run, it is dangerous to assume that you can handle the charges yourself. You need to discuss the charges with an experienced hit and run lawyer in Indianapolis.
Contact Suhre & Associates,LLC for a free case review. Our defense team is ready to help you as you fight for fair and just treatment from the criminal justice system.