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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 114706
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Heelo. My friend who is a Tongan National was in que at a

Customer Question

Heelo. My friend who is a Tongan National was in que at a car wash with er engine off as the line was long. Unexpectedly a man hit her on the driver's side door. She spoke with the man who said he dropped his glasses or cell phone and the car lurched forward as he bent to pick them up. The man called the police but they declined to come telling the caller that the car wash was on private property. So the 2 driver's exchanged info and my friend left because she needed to get to her caregiver job.
A couple of days later as my friend was entertaining her family at a functon, some police officers came to her door. they told her she needed to come down to the station to discuss the accident. When she got there she was informed that the man had filed a complaint against her for hit and run.
The officer went on to explain that it was a serious accusation and she could be found guilty of a felony and go to jail.
my friend said see explained the situation to the police and they said that she was not at fault for the accident but none the less was still accused of hit and run.
My firend's visa is set to expire soon so she had planned to return to Tonga this coming Monday stay 2 weeks and then come back. She asked the police if she could settle this out of court with the man. They told her to call the man.
She called and spoke to the person's spouse. The woman told her that the man was not driving his car and they did not want to involve their insurance company. If she would pay them $3,500.00 they would drop the charges.
I am thinking all of this is no better than a "shake down" of an non-citizen, a bit naieve, and desparate to get home to renew VISA.
She wants to pay the money (with a loan from me) so as not to be stopped at TSA and jeopardized re=entering US in 2 weeks with current visa.
Can I have you advice?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If he hit her from behind and her engine was off, SHE DOES NOT OWE ANYONE ANYTHING. It is also not hit and run if the accident occurred on private property and they exchanged information. He owes her for damages to her car and she should not pay him one dime. There are no legitimate charges that can be brought, the records would show the police were called and the tapes of the call regarding the accident being on private property would support her case. Furthermore, by providing her information and exchanging information, it does not fit into hit and run.
At this point, I would tell her not to agree to pay a dime, the other driver is trying to extort her. You need to tell her to obtain a local attorney and not agree to pay them a dime. Her attorney will get this resolved, even if she is leaving the country, but she should not be victimized and extorted just because she is not from here.

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