What to do ifI was wrongfully accused of hit and run?

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What to do ifI was wrongfully accused of hit and run?

I was involved in an accident in which I hit a tuck in center lane of highway. The truck kept driving but got over several lanes to find a pull-off spot. I was unable to get over to the roadside because of traffic density and didn’t see were he went. I tried to get to next traffic light and turn around but a woman slammed on her brake before I could, causing another crash. She grabbed my keys and yelled to cops that I was the ”hit and run” guy. I wasn’t able to even explain myself and was arrested right away. I wasn’t able to get off where truck did and had full intentions of getting to him. I was in state of shock after the first crash and could not locate the truck. My anxiety medication made my panic worse. I had no intent to try and flee the scene.

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since this is a criminal matter you really should have a criminal law attorney represent you.  Skilled and experienced defense counsel may be able to get the charge dismissed or reduced, or if it comes to it, win an acquittal at trial.  Consult directly with one in your area.  Tell them your side of things in full so that they can best present your defense.  Pick a lawyer local to the area in which this all occurred, as they will have contacts within the court system that they can use to your advantage. 

Additionally, if this is your first offense, you may be able to have your charges conditionally discharged through an alternative sentencing program, known as "diversion".  This simply means that you will be released to probation without a trial.  If you successfully complete the terms of your probation the charges will be dropped (however if you violate its terms, you will be brought back to court and face the original sentence).

If money is an issue, see if you qualify for representation by the Public Defender or Legal Aid (there are income limits) or see if they can recommend someone to help you.  Also, check if there is a law school nearby to where the court in which your must make your appearance; they typically run free/low cost clinics that handle these type cases.  Finally, you can contact the local Bar Association in the county in question; they may have a list of attorneys who will take your case "pro bono" (for free) or at least for a reduced fee based on your income/circumstances. 


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