Imagine this situation: You've had a couple drinks, and you leave the bar to drive home. Along the way, something jumps in front of your car. It is dark, and you swerve to avoid collision. In the chaos, you don't see the car ahead of you and hit it head-on. It isn't a bad wreck, and you can see the other driver is fine.
Now you are scared. You were trying to protect an animal, and this collision had nothing to do with alcohol. However, the police could easily link this accident to a DUI. Unsure of what to do next, you flee the scene.
If you've fled the scene of a wreck, it is likely because you didn't know what else to do. Good people make impulsive choices every day. If you flee the scene of an accident, you can immediately secure the services of a lawyer.
Attorneys Can Help
Remember that defense lawyers are there to do just that – defend. It is not their job to judge or shame your actions. You are considered innocent until a prosecutor proves you are guilty, and the attorney's purpose is to preserve that innocence. By representing you, they are upholding the law.
Here are the steps you should follow.
Call as Soon as You Are Able
In a tense situation like a hit-and-run, you probably cannot drive to an attorney's office. This does not affect your ability to acquire an attorney's services. Once you've made contact with a lawyer and established an attorney/client relationship, they can start working for you. You might not need to pay them at that moment, and anything you tell them is privileged information. They can start advising you immediately.
Take Your Lawyer's Advice
If they are a criminal defense lawyer, they are on your side. Whatever they advise you to do, do it. Do not improvise, and do not try to outthink them. Let them do the thinking for you.
Most likely, they will advise you to stay quiet, especially if police find you. Remember, you have a constitutional right to remain silent. You may need to give police your name and present identification, but beyond that, you don't have to say anything.
If the police believe you were drinking, they may ask that you take a breathalyzer test. Your lawyer will have already advised you on what to do. Take your lawyer's advice over what the police tell you, no matter what. If you were advised to deny a breathalyzer test, deny the test. Police will try to scare you with threats of suspending your license if you don't comply. Trust that your lawyer is already working on a contingency plan, and they are helping you.
When you have not been formally charged with a crime, but the police are mounting their evidence, this is called a pre-file investigation. This can be a lengthy process when authorities are investigating white collar crimes or a drug ring. In a fast-moving scenario like a hit-and-run, pre-file investigations do not take long. They often happen within the hour.
If you already made contact with a lawyer who agreed to take you on, they should be mounting their pre-filing defense even if you are currently with the police. With skill, they may be able to help you avoid a court trial or a night in jail. They can begin working on your case right away, preparing a defense that may keep you out of trouble.
If you find yourself in a bad situation, worried that an arrest is imminent, remember our name. Beahm Law may be able to work on a pre-filing defense for you and help protect your rights. Our number is (844) 811-5444, and you can contact us online.