Police are looking for the suspect of a fatal hit and run in Palm Springs, California. Two drivers struck a man; one stopped, and one fled.
The victim was found lying in the southbound lanes north of an intersection on Palm Springs roadway. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
According to news from The Press-Enterprise, it is unknown whether alcohol or speeding were factors in the hit and run. The Palm Springs Police Department is investigating the incident.
Hit and run accidents are common traffic crimes. If you are accused of a hit and run, it is important to have an understanding of your possible defenses.
A hit and run accident is defined as an accident where the driver fails to stop and provide information after a collision. State laws require people to do this if they have been in a car, truck, motorcycle, and even bicycle accident.
Hit and runs don’t just involve vehicle-to-vehicle collisions: stopping after a collision is also required in a case where a pedestrian is hit or property is damaged.
If it is clear that the person should have stopped after the collision and responded to the accident, a hit and run charge will be filed.
Still, there are several common defenses against an accusation of a hit and run:
- A hit and run may be excusable if there was an emergency in progress at the time of the accident or if the accident happened during the prevention of an emergency. Courts usually judge these situations very strictly.
- Involuntary intoxication can sometimes be a defense. An example of involuntary intoxication is when a person is given the wrong medication and that medication has negative effects on them. The intoxication must be involuntary or unknown, and it must be proven to have impaired the person’s consciousness or ability to make rational decisions.
- If the defendant doesn’t know that he or she caused damage or an injury, it is difficult to hold him or her liable for a hit and run accident. But the defendant can be found negligent or reckless if he or she should have known about the damage due to the circumstances.
The legal consequences for a hit and run will depend on the circumstances of each case. In serious cases, a hit and run can be classified as a felony and involve strict penalties.
Felony hit and runs are usually handed out if the accident caused severe bodily injury, incurred damages above a certain amount of money, or was a repeat offense.
In some cases, a hit and run can be classified as a misdemeanor offense resulting in criminal fines and possible jail time.
Hit and run charges can result in severe consequences depending on the circumstances. Having the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential.
Photo Credit: Flickr contributor, Thomas Hawk