“Hit and Run” Attorney in Las Vegas, NV
If you are under investigation for “hit and run” in Las Vegas, NV, or the surrounding areas throughout Clark County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Gallo Law Office. In many states, this crime is called “leaving the scene of a crash” or “fleeing the scene” or "hit and skip."
You can be charged even if you were not at fault for the crash. In addition to a crash between two vehicles, these cases can also involve a crash with a pedestrian, bicycle or motorcycle.
Once a criminal investigation begins, never talk to a law enforcement officer or anyone else about the facts of your case until AFTER you have retained an attorney. Anything you say can and will be used against you. In many of these cases, the driver's admission of driving is the ONLY way an arrest can be made or the charges can be proven at trial.
Your attorney is often in the best position to tell your side of the story without incriminating you with evidence that can be used at trial. You have the right to retain an attorney to help you deal with the allegations and the investigation that will be conducted by the law enforcement officers. Your attorney can also help you deal with your insurance company and settling any personal injury or property damage claim after the crash.
Nevada’s hit and run laws are unforgiving and come with harsh penalties. In fact, in the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session, a bill was introduced to change the penalties for individuals involved in hit-and-run accidents. The charges can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on facts of the case and whether a serious injury or death occurred. Once you are suspected of this crime, you have the right to remain silent under the 5th amendment and the right to have an attorney represent you under the 6th amendment.
Attorney James C. Gallo is familiar with the procedures used by the hit and run units of local law enforcement agencies in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. Never speak about a hit-and-run with an officer with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD), a detective with the Las Vegas Metro's Accident Investigation Section, or an investigator with the LVMPD Traffic Bureau.
Call (702) 385-3131 today to discuss your case with James Gallo, an experienced criminal defense attorney with offices in downtown Las Vegas.
Example of “Hit and Run” Charges in Nevada
The typical “hit and run” case in Nevada involves a crash between two vehicles causing only property damage. In this common example, after the crash one of the drivers panic and leaves the scene. In some cases, the driver leaves the scene because he or she has an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, is in possession of marijuana or another type of controlled substances, is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), has a suspended or revoked driver’s license, or has an outstanding warrant.
As the person drives away, a witness sees the tag number and reports it to the police. When law enforcement arrives on the scene, a crash investigation begins. If it is determined that a driver involved in the crash left the scene without rendering aid or providing all of the information required by statute, then the officer will begin a “hit and run” investigation. In many cases, the officer will determine the contact information for the registered owner of the vehicle.
Officers will rely on the witnesses at the scene of the crash to identify the “hit and run” driver. In many cases, the witness is shown photographs of several individuals to see if the individual can pick out the picture of the registered owner and identify that person as the driver. Even if no witness can identify the driver, the law enforcement officers will usually go to any address associated with the registered owner in an attempt to find the vehicle. If the vehicle is located, the vehicle might be impounded as evidence. Alternatively, the officer might take pictures of the damage to the vehicle to substantiate the claim that the same vehicle was actually involved in the crash.
In many cases, repairing the vehicle in an attempt to conceal evidence of the “hit and run” can constitute a crime in and of itself. Besides just looking for the vehicle, the hit and run officers will also attempt to locate the registered owner of the vehicle (or anyone else known to drive the vehicle). In many cases, the officer will visit the home or work address of the registered owner.
If the officer is able to locate the registered owner, the law enforcement officer will question that individual in an attempt to determine who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. If the registered owner admits to driving, then the officer can then complete the steps necessary to make an arrest for “hit and run.” If the registered owner invokes his right to remain silent or says that another person borrowed the vehicle, then the investigation will continue.
Although you have a right to remain silent, you do not have a right to lie during an investigation. Making a false police report or making false statements to law enforcement is a serious crime in and of itself.
If you hire an attorney, the attorney will usually write a letter to the investigating officer letting the officer know that you are invoking your right to remain silent. At that point, the law enforcement officer will usually abandon any plan to go to your home or work to interrogate you. Instead, the arresting officer will assess the rest of the available information to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to prosecute the case. If not, the officer will often notify your attorney that no criminal charges will be filed.
If the officer has other evidence, including an eyewitness who can identify the person who was driving, then the officer may go forward with issuing citations or obtaining a warrant for the person’s arrest for “hit and run.” Even in those cases, the fact that you made no statements will often make the case very difficult to prosecute.
Your Duty to Remain at the Scene of a Car Crash in Las Vegas
After a crash, any driver of a vehicle involved in the crash has a duty to stay at the scene and exchange certain contact and insurance information. The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash may also have a duty to render aid and file a crash report about the car accident. The requirement that you remain on the scene to render aid and give information is set out in Nevada Revised Statute 484E.030.
All drivers involved in a crash that causes property damage are required by law to remain at the scene and exchange the following information:
- the VIN number of the vehicle;
- the name of the driver of each vehicle;
- the address of the drivers;
- vehicle registration information; and
- upon a request, the driver must show his driver's license.
The driver is also required to provide this information to the Nevada crash scene investigator and surrender a photo identification upon request. Failing to fulfill the obligations set by statute that require exchanging information and rendering aid can cause misdemeanor charges.
If any person is injured in the crash, then the driver has a legal obligation to help the injured person by rendering reasonable assistance such as taking the injured person to the hospital. In this modern age of cell phones, common sense often dictates calling for medical assistance after the crash if someone is injured.
Hit and Run Misdemeanor Charges Involving Property Damage
Nevada Revised Statute 484E.020 provide that leaving the scene of a crash that results in only property damage is a misdemeanor. The statute provides: “The driver in an accident resulting only in damage shall stop and move the vehicle to a location that does not obstruct traffic and remain at the scene until the driver has exchanged information."
If the vehicle or other property involved in the crash is unattended, then Nevada law requires that you stop and remain at the scene to find the owner. Under this statute, the most common example involves a moving vehicle hitting a parked vehicle.
If the driver can not locate the owner of the parked car or other property, then the driver must leave a written note within the VIN number of the vehicle involved in the crash, insurance information and the driver's name and address. The statute also requires that the driver contacts law enforcement about the crash. If you are not able to comply with these rules because you are incapacitated, then another occupant or passenger in your vehicle is required to comply with these reporting requirements. See NRS 484E.050 and NRS 484E.040.
Punishments for “Hit and Run”
The punishments for "hit and run" depend on whether the property is attended or not attended, the extent of property damage, and whether anyone was killed or seriously injured.
“Hit and Run” Causing Property Damage
If you are charged with "hit and run" causing only property damage, then the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and six demerit points to your driver’s license.
Felony “Hit and Run” Causing Bodily Injury or Death
If you are charged with hit and run causing either bodily injury or death, then the offense is a felony punishable as a category B felony under NRS 484E.010. The penalties include a fine of $2,000 to $5,000, two to fifteen years in Nevada State Prison, and a possible driver’s license revocation or suspension.
Filing an Accident Police Report
Nevada Revised Statute 484E.080, 484E.070 and 484E.030 address the requirements to file an accident police report after the crash. The duty to report the accident applies when the crash involves the death of another person, the bodily injury of another person, or property damage of $750 or more.
If the driver is physically incapable of making the report after the crash because of an injury or other medical condition, then the driver is not required to file the report until he or she regains the capacity to make the report. If the driver is incapable of making the report, then the duty might fall on a passenger or the registered owner of the vehicle.
In many of these cases a law enforcement officer in Las Vegas, Nevada, will arrive at the scene to conduct an investigation and prepare an accident report. If law enforcement does not file a report, then you have ten days from the date of the crash to involve the police of the following:
- the name and address of the driver;
- whether the driver had insurance and if so, information to identify the insurance policy;
- a statement of the loss or an estimate of the repairs which can come from an established repair garage, insurance adjuster, or licensed appraiser.
Property Damage Only Traffic Accidents in Las Vegas, NV
The Las Vegas Metro Police Department recently changed its collision response policy on January 1, 2016. Now officers will respond to property damage only (PDO) collisions. LVMPD will also respond to the following types of collision cases:
- A hit and run;
- A driver who doesn't have a driver's license, proof of insurance or registration;
- An uncooperative driver (i.e. will not exchange information) or any other disturbance meriting a police response;
- Property damage only collisions on a public road:
- A driver under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or other substances;
- A vehicle disabled on the roadway as a result of a collision; and
- Traffic collisions with injuries or fatalities.
Las Vegas Metro PD on Hit and Run Collisions - Visit the website of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to find recent press releases on hit and run collisions involving substantial injury, critical injury or a fatality. The press releases detail hit and run cases involving single vehicle accidents with abandoned vehicles, auto vs. pedestrian, auto vs. motorcycle, and vehicle crashes when the driver leaves the scene or fails to stop. The last three press released listed include: Critical Injury Hit and Run Collision, 2320 E. Fremont St. (AM/PM), Auto vs. Pedestrian, Event #151226-1902, Press Releases on 12/26/2015 8:24 PM, Fatal # 120, Hit & Run Auto vs. Pedestrian, Jones Blvd south of Patrick Ln, Event #151221-0667, Press Releases on 12/21/2015 2:29 PM and Critical Injury Hit & Run Traffic Collision, Desert Inn Rd/Seneca Rd, Van vs Pickup, Event #151201-3390, Press Releases on 12/2/2015 1:15 AM.
Hit and Run Investigations for the North Las Vegas Police Department - Visit the website for the City of North Las Vegas to learn more about the NLVPD Traffic Division (often called “Motors”). Staffed by 12 officers, 2 sergeants and 1 lieutenant, the traffic division of the NLVPD is responsible for the investigation of hit and run, leaving the scene, and failure to stop cases. The traffic division also enforced traffic laws with the goal of reducing roadway collisions. The officers focus on the most dangerous areas for frequent crashes as identified through statistical analysis. Also find links to traffic laws in Nevada including NRS Title 43 Chapters 482-486 and Municipal Code Book Title 10. Also find information on the Crossing Guard Unit which includes 109 crossing guards managed by the Traffic Division supervisor. Crossing Guards help children cross the street at locations near elementary schools at the beginning and end of the school day.
Current Traffic Incidents Dispatch or Pending with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department - Find a list of Current Traffic incidents dispatched or pending in the dispatch system of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. The information is updated every 15 minutes and was last updated on 2/10/2016 2:54:05 PM. Find information on accidents with injury, hit and run collisions, traffic problems and accidents on private property. Search by event id, event date, event code, event description or event address. Many of these incidents are currently under investigation by the Accident Investigation Section of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
New Tough Hit and Run Laws in Las Vegas - Visit LasVegasNow to learn more about new laws in Nevada imposing the toughest hit-and-run laws in the country. Recent changes in the law mean that anyone who leaves the scene of a crash with bodily harm could face two to 20 years in prison with no chance of getting probation. Law enforcement officers have started Public Service Announcements on "don't run call 911."
Finding a Hit-and-Run Defense Attorney in Las Vegas, Clark County, NV
If you are under investigation for leaving the scene of an accident (often called "hit-and-run") then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas. Nevada's laws against hit-and-run are serious and unforgiving. Any statement that you make to law enforcement might mean the difference between freedom or incarceration.
Never take any action to repair a vehicle. Don't make any false statements. Hire an attorney to walk you through the process and to make sure that your rights are protected at each stage of the case.
Attorney James C. Gallo is experienced defending clients under investigation for leaving the scene or hit and run. He knows the procedures used by investigators with the LVMPD Traffic Bureau, detectives with the Las Vegas Metro's Accident Investigation Section and officers with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD).
He also represents clients on related charges of DUI, driving while license suspended, and reckless driving. Call (702) 385-3131 to discuss your case during a confidential consultation with an experienced attorney for criminal traffic offenses in Las Vegas, NV.
This article was last updated Wednesday, September 7, 2016.