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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27765
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I live in columbus, oh. About 6:30 in the evening a friend

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I live in columbus, oh. About 6:30 in the evening a friend and I were coming back from shopping and as I was pulling up to a light and bumped the car in front of me. It was dark and the guy jumped out of the car and started yelling at me. I was scared and just left as I lived right around the corner. I have never even had a ticket in my life. I'm female 55 and just did a stupid thing. The police came about 15 min later and gave me a ticket. How much trouble am I in ?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello and happy 2012,

This sounds to me as if you will be charged for leaving the scene of an accident. It is a misdemeanor of the first degree, which carries a six-month maximum jail sentence and/or a $1,000 fine. (See link to law) Your license would also be suspended. I am assuming, when I say this that there might be damage to the car. If there were injuries, the charge would be more serious.

Although the odds of you going to jail for something like this are almost zero, you will still need a criminal lawyer to represent you and hope this can be bargained down to something that would not give you a criminal record. If you can afford one, have him with you at your first court date, so that he can advise you of your choices or negotiate a settlement. If you cannot, plead not guilty at your arraignment and ask the judge to appoint you a public defense lawyer.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If I take an atty with me will I only have to go for 1 hearing ? What are the odds of loosing my license. I am 55 have never had even a ticket much less an accident. And would never have done something like this normally but when the guy got out of his car and started yelling it just really scared me.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

The first court date in a criminal case is usually the arraignment. You go in, the court reads the charges against you on the record and ask how you plead. It is customary to answer Not Guilty as that is the only plea that keeps all of your rights open until your lawyer can find out more about the case from the papers and the prosecutor and talk to you about it. You really have only two choices, and they are to fight the case all the way to trial and risk up to 6 months in jail and a heavy fine if you lose, or to have your lawyer negotiate a deal for you.

If you want a deal, you may or may not be able to take the deal at the same court date. I am sure that if you wanted to pled guilty to the charge, you'd get a fine. But you will almost certainly lose your license (how long would be up to the judge) and you'd end up with a criminal record. So whether you can wrap all of this up on the first date will depend upon what kind of a deal your lawyer can get from the prosecutor. If you are interested in what that offer is, after your lawyer explains what's good and/or bad about it, you can take it and dispose of the case. If you don't like the offer and your lawyer thinks that by holding out for a while, there may be a better offer down the road, he'll get a continuamce and the case will be on again.

If you are looking for a plea, however, in general, it wouldn't take more than a couple of court dates for you and your lawyer to wrap up the case.
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