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Nate
Nate, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 10685
Experience:  Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
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I was recently involved in a hit and run. I was backing out

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I was recently involved in a hit and run. I was backing out of a parking spot, going between 3 and 5 mph. I backed into another vehicle that I did not see. I did not stop and get out to check damage but did so in my rear view mirror.

The driver was in the car but I did not see him. I left the scene of the accident without exchanging insurance information. The police were called and showed up at my residence where I promptly explained the situation. The police informed me that the person I bumped was not going to press charges if I was willing to contact him and pay to fix the crack in his bumper. My car was not damaged at all.

In contacting the individual he initially seemed happy to get an estimate and have me pay out of pocket for the damage, avoiding the use insurance companies. After giving me the initial estimate I got back to him saying I would be able to pay the ~1000 dollars out of pocket. At this point in time he started to let me know of the charges I would face if he were to file a DUI, I believe in an attempt to make me pay him more. I have yet to contact the policeman in charge of the case, but the dispatcher did tell me that the case is still in the system as "pending."

Am I at this person's mercy? Is he essentially allowed to name his price so that I don't go through the trouble of having a misdemeanor on my record? Please help, thanks.
Thank you for your question.

First off, he can't "charge you with a DUI". The most he can do is file charges for damaging his vehicle. Only the police can charge you with a DUI. If they didn't at the time of the wreck, it is not going to happen now.

The guy is blowing smoke to try to extort more money out of you. Call the police and tell them what is happening. I know they aren't going to look kindly at it and this guy will be lucky to be able to press any charges at all at this point.

I will be happy to follow up with you if you have additional questions. In the meantime, please click ACCEPT so that I can get credit for answering your question.

Thanks!

Nathan Moore
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I apologize, I somehow confused DUI with hit and run. Does the answer still apply?
You didn't run, right? As long as you were there when the police got there, that's smoke, too.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
"The driver was in the car but I did not see him. I left the scene of the accident without exchanging insurance information. The police were called and showed up at my residence where I promptly explained the situation. The police informed me that the person I bumped was not going to press charges if I was willing to contact him and pay to fix the crack in his bumper. My car was not damaged at all."

See above, the driver was in the car and i did not get out to exchange information. The police had to come to my residence.
That's a little more gray, then. That you were readily available and didn't see him plays in your favor. However, him threatening criminal prosecution to get more money out of you when he's already told the police what he is willing to do will certainly make the ADA not all that eager to prosecute you, and that is ultimately the ADA's decision, not his.
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