Criminal Defense Attorney Tips You Need to Know. Today’s guest blog is by the LA Jewish Lawyer. The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Marc J. Victor, P.C.
Criminal Defense Attorney Tips
Ok, just because you don’t think of yourself as a “Criminal,” that does NOT mean that you will never need a Criminal Defense Attorney. It’s good to know one, or at least have their phone number, and here are some examples why:
Leaving the Scene of an Automobile Accident. Traffic on the Freeway “On-Ramp” suddenly backs up and slows to a stop. Everyone hits their brakes, and before you know it, your car has “touched” the bumper of the car in front of you. Cannot possibly have done any damage … pretty much like you’re “Parallel Parking,” and when your rear wheel touches the curb, your bumper just touches the bumper of the car ahead of you.
Anyway, let’s get back to the Freeway “On-Ramp.” You just touch the bumper of the car ahead of you, and you expect to just get on the Freeway, roll down your window, and shout out sincerely, “Sorry!”
But that is unfortunately NOT the case. Before you know it, the Driver of the car ahead of you hops out and approaches your car window. You remain inside the car. The other Driver says we need to exchange Insurance Information. What? You ask, saying there is absolutely no damage … it was just a “touch.” He says, yes, I know, but just in case … just in case, what, you’re thinking? Perhaps just in case, you wake up tomorrow with a stiff neck from watching too much TV, and think oh, yes, I could make a claim against that hapless driver that touched my bumper yesterday.
But you don’t hear anything and you go on with your life. Lots of other things to worry about.
Three weeks later, you receive an ominous-looking envelope from the District Attorney’s office, saying that you need to contact them immediately … about the “Hit and Run” Incident. Oh my gosh, you think, with a sinking feeling in your stomach … how did this happen? That wasn’t hit and run … I stopped, checked his bumper, checked my bumper, and there wasn’t a single scratch. The Driver of the other car was just being a jerk.
Well, that’s true, but unbeknownst to you, he was recently in a real fender-bender accident and didn’t feel like he was treated well. So he is relishing the opportunity to make it right, by taking out his frustration …. Unfortunately, he’s going to “take it out” on YOU.
How do I say this diplomatically, since I don’t want to hurt your feelings? Well, the fact is, you PANIC. You are really, really scared. More nervous than you’ve ever been. You know that you have to hire an attorney, but you have NO idea whom. You call your neighbor, who is a transactional / business attorney, and luckily, he has a recommendation, a great, young Criminal Defense attorney … but even though he’s just recently begun his practice, he’s already “expensive.”
So you call the Criminal Defense Attorney, and to make a long story short, he wants $3,500 upfront, which is money you really don’t have. You go back and forth … and how do I say this politely, so as not to hurt your feelings … you are begging him for a discount … a favor, because the referring attorney is his friend. Amazingly, you are successful in negotiating him down to a FLAT $1,000 fee, even if he only makes a phone call or two, but more if there’s actual courtroom litigation.
Now, you’re feeling a little bit better, because your new Criminal Defense attorney is going to call the District Attorney on your behalf, the first thing in the morning.
To make a long story short, since I’m in a bit of a rush … no, I’m NOT driving now … your attorney negotiates a good deal for you.
You see, “Hit and Run” is what we call a “WOBBLER,” meaning it could be a Civil issue, or it could be a CRIMINAL CHARGE. That depends on a number of factors, the primary factor being, “was anyone in the other car injured in any way?” If someone was injured, it’s going to be considered as possibly requiring Criminal Prosecution.
Fantastic, you think to yourself … since no one was injured. But whoa! Not so fast … the Driver of the car in front of you is claiming that he was INJURED. But you know that is literally impossible. It would be like saying, I was Parallel Parking on a residential street, and my rear tire touched the curb gently, and lo’ and behold, I’m injured …. But your attorney says, yes, I understand, but he is claiming he’s injured.
Criminal Defense Attorney Tips You Need to Know
After two agonizing weeks of negotiation, worry, and stress, here’s what is agreed to: the District Attorney will consider it entirely a CIVIL matter, with no consequences as far as he’s concerned, if, and only if, you and the other driver work out a Civil resolution. And that’s just what we did. He said, that if I admitted “FAULT,” and allowed him to claim against MY insurance company, he could get his doctor bills (whatever for, you ask?) covered, without raising his premium rates. So, my Insurance Premium Rates went up, and stayed up for five (5) full years, over an auto accident that wasn’t even really an accident. Go figure!