Potential Outcomes of Hit & Run in WA State
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We have helped many people who are in a similar situation to you fight their charges.
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While we cannot guarantee how your it and run case will be resolved, we can advise you about what we have seen in our other hit and run cases and what potential outcomes may be reasonable for you. Most hit and run charges are resolved prior to trial.
Please note, this section does not cover felony hit and run charges, each of them is very individualized and cannot be generalized.
Here are some of the ways that hit and run charges are resolved.
Dismissal by Prosecutor:
This is sometimes a possibility for hit and run cases. We have found that when these cases are dismissed, prior to them being dismissed the prosecutor may require a restitution, community service, and if they believe alcohol was involved, a DUI victims panel, an alcohol evaluation and follow-up treatment. Sometimes prosecutors will offer what is called a "stipulated order of continuance" or "pre-trial" diversion whereby your case is continued for a period of time (1-2 years) and then dismissed. Common conditions of these can be no new criminal law violations, pay a fine (usually under $500) and community service, and again, if alcohol or drugs is suspected, an alcohol evaluation and follow-up treatment. This can be an excellent resolution for most people.
Compromise of Misdemeanor:
In misdemeanor (not felony) hit and run cases, if the victim of the hit and run agrees in writing or by appearing in court that the damages have been paid for and that they have no objection to the case being dismissed, the judge may dismiss the charges. This can be done even if the prosecutor objects to the dismissal. This can be an excellent way to resolve hit and run cases. It is strongly recommended that only an attorney contact the victim. If a defendant, friend, or family member tries to contact the victim it may be viewed as witness tampering.
Amendment of Charges:
Hit and run attended charges are sometimes resolved by amending them down to hit and run property damage or hit and run unattended. This is advantageous because decreases the loss of license from one year to no loss of license at all.
You always have a right to a judge or jury trial for a hit and run charge. If it is a jury trial you will be heard by six members of the community. They will decided if you are "guilty" or "not guilty" of hit and run. As we said above, most hit and run charges are resolved prior to a jury trial, but we are prepared to go to trial if necessary. Our philosophy is that if the prosecutor is not willing to negotiate, then you are typically better going to trial and seeking a not guilty verdict than pleading guilty.