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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23175
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was driving home in the morning from visiting my sisters

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I was driving home in the morning from visiting my sisters house, it was really early in the morning around 5 am and the road was wet and slippery. I was very tired and fell asleep for a split second, missed 4 way stop turn, and tried to turn right, slipped and hit a park signed and my car fell into a ditch. I panicked and had anxiety attack and afraid to go to my girlfriend's house which was really close by. Instead I walked to my friends house which was around 20 minutes or so away to get his truck to tow the car so that I wouldn't have to incur the towing expenses. It was really early in the morning and dark still, so we decided to rest up and wait until the days cleared up a little bit. But when we got to the seen, the car was gone. I've found out that the car was towed away by the sheriffs office. The sheriff initially tried to contact my girlfriend at her house and my brother in law and sister and told me to contact the sheriffs office by 1pm that day or else he was going to arrest me. He initially told them that he was going to issue me a ticket for property damage. I manage to call the sheriffs office by he was on duty and so I left the sheriff a message. He called me back and left me a voice mail telling me to call him back. And so we've playing phone tag for about 3 days now, and I recently left him a message with his fellow officer again as the deputy was off work for 3 days.

Today...instead of calling me directly he called my brother in law asking where about. My brother in law instructed him that I was working and he told my brother in law that he was going to arrest me for hit and run.

At this point I'm not sure what the sheriff is trying to do? First, I don't know why he would call my brother in law when I left him a message twice with his officer with my contact information.

I'm taking this threat from the sheriff seriously and would like to know what my options are. At first I was willing to talk to him when he said that he wanted to issue me a ticket, but now he wants to arrest me for a hit and run? I do not want to incriminate myself and would like to get advice on how I should handle this?


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a criminal lawyer.

When an accident occurs and you cause property damage you are obligated in Washington state to try to find the owner of the property that you damaged and if you can't to leave a note for him so that he will know who's accountable for it. Failure to do that is considered a hit and run under Washington State Law. It is a misdemeanor.

So, whether you meet up with the sheriff or not, this is going to come out the same way -- with you getting charged with misdemeanor hit and run. BUT when you are a suspect in a crime you ought never speak to the police anyway, unless you are with an attorney who can watch out for your rights. Actually, it's probably a good thing you didn't get a hold of the sheriff or he you, as any criminal lawyer worth his license to practice would have told you not to call the police back.

You don't have to, and if you do, anything you say can be used against you. If you don't call them back, your lack of cooperation can never be used against you because you have a Constitutional right to remain silent under these circumstances.

Here's the thing. If the police want to arrest you they can do so. It's your car, and so they've got probable cause to arrest and charge you with this. BUT the only way he knows that you were driving that car is if you called him up, agreed to speak to him and told him.

It is up to the state to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Make them work for that. Don't hand them a confession on a silver platter when you can just tell them you don't wish to discuss this until you've conferred with counsel. Then find yourself a criminal lawyer. The police won't be happy about this, but they know you've got rights and know that the law favors you and not them with regard to this issue.

If you feel you want to talk to the police anyway, bring your lawyer.

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