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.