Can Restitution Be Ordered Automatically in a DUI Hit and Run Case?

The Court in a criminal case has the power to order restitution in any case where the defendant’s actions cause harm or loss to a third-party, but can restitution be ordered just because a person flees the scene of an accident, say in a DUI context?  The California Courts say no according to Torrance Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew Ruff.

Appellate Courts in CA have consistently ruled that a Conviction of a hit-and-run or misdemeanor DUI offense does not establish responsibility for the accident in which defendant was involved.  Indeed, in a hit-and-run case the crime is the running, not the hitting. However, even though the crime did not cause the loss, the court may order restitution as a condition of probation, at least when “there is no question as to defen-dant’s responsibility for the loss.” Restitution is appropriate in these cases because it is reasonably related to the crime of which defendant was convicted and to the goal of probation to deter future criminality.   However, the defendant would be entitled to a hearing to first determine whether repayment for any out-of-pocket expenses is reasonable and related to the criminal culpability of the accused.  Bottom line, although a person can be charged and convicted of hit and run, he or she may not have been the cause of the accident.  In many cases, a person arrested for hit and run may have fled the scene because they were intoxicated and afraid they would be arrested for DUI if they waited for the police to arrive.  Also, in many cases the driver may not have been licensed and that may have motivated him to run.

In cases where there is no plea bargain in place, restitution in a hit-and-run case or misdemeanor DUI case  should probably be ordered only when it is obvious or undisputed that defendant caused the accident.  As a general rule, most criminal case dispositions in Torrance Court will have a stipulation that restitution be ordered as a term of probation.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Can Restitution Be Ordered Automatically in a DUI Hit and Run Case?

  1. Campanula drunk drive lawyers says:

    Greate article. Keep posting such kind of information on your site. DUI is a major problem in this country, your blog really helps people understand how to get help.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hey there, You’ve performed an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and for my part recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

  2. drunk driving lawyer Lancaster says:

    Thank you for every other magnificent post on criminal related subjects.
    Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week,
    and I am at the look for such information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s