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Archive for the ‘defenses against hit and run accidents’ tag

Been Charged with a Hit-And-Run? Defenses Are Available

February 21st, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Illinois defense lawyerWhen someone is involved in an accident, it is natural for the fight-or-flight response to kick in. It is for this reason that many people flee the scene of an accident. This is particularly true if they do not believe there was major property damage or serious injury. Leaving the scene of an accident could result in a hit-and-run charge. Those charged will face serious consequences if convicted. Due to this, it is important anyone charged knows that there are defenses available.

Illinois Law on Hit-And-Runs

The Illinois Compiled Statute, 625 ILCS 5/11-402 explains very clearly that hit-and-runs are against the law. Those charged with this crime in Illinois may be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, a possible license suspension, and even jail time in some cases.

In addition to the state statute, it is also law to report certain accidents to the Illinois Department of Transportation within ten days of the incident. Accidents that must be reported are those that result in death, bodily injury, or property damage over $1,500. This law pertains to contacting authorities. Even when minor accidents do not require reporting, all drivers involved are still required to stop. This is mainly so drivers can exchange information in case an issue from the accident arises later.

Defenses to a Hit-And-Run

Many people feel as though it is difficult to challenge a hit-and-run charge because the facts are typically unambiguous. Perhaps a witness wrote down the license plate number of the person that fled, or video surveillance captured the whole scene. While these facts may be damaging, it is important those charged remember that there are still defenses available.

Mistaken identity is a defense to many crimes, and an instance of a hit-and-run is no different. While witnesses, and possibly even those hit, may have a license plate number, that does not necessarily mean the owner of the car was driving. If it can be proven they were not, that individual is not criminally liable.

In order for a person to be convicted of a hit-and-run, the prosecution needs to prove that the individual knowingly left the scene of the accident. When accidents are severe, such as hitting a pedestrian, it can be difficult to convince a jury that the individual that left the scene did not know they were in an accident. However, there are times when the accident is so minor, it is reasonable to assume a person may not have even realized they were in an accident. This could be the case when a person is backing out of a parking space and hits another vehicle. If the prosecution cannot prove the individual knew they were leaving the scene of an accident, they have no case.

When an emergency situation is involved in the accident, the courts are also sometimes more lenient on those accused. For example, if someone was transporting another person to the hospital for an emergency, hit someone in the process and did not stop, the courts may decide to reduce the charges. They may even drop them altogether depending on the circumstances of the case.

Lastly, involuntary intoxication can provide a defense for hit-and-runs, as well as many other traffic offenses. For example, if an individual was unknowingly drugged or given sufficient amounts of alcohol, they would not be responsible for their behavior behind the wheel because they had no reason to believe they were intoxicated.

It is important to remember that in a hit-and-run case, or any criminal case for that matter, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This means it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove the defendant committed the crime, and they must do so beyond a reasonable doubt. These defenses challenge that burden of proof and are often enough to get hit-and-run cases dismissed.

Contact a Hit-And-Run Lawyer in Rolling Meadows That Can Help

Simply knowing the defenses for a hit-and-run charge are not enough. Those accused will face very many specific procedures that must be followed in court and be prepared to go up against very confident prosecutors. They will also be questioned extensively and could be presented with damaging evidence they do not know how to effectively argue in court. It is for this reason that anyone charged with a hit-and-run should contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney that can help. If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. We know the strategies that can be used in court to reduce your charges or get them dropped altogether. We are the best defense against hit-and-run cases in court, and we want to help you with yours. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-402

 

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