The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a top commander’s unmarked police vehicle being involved in a collision and found abandoned in Carson.  The commander, who oversees a team of officers that investigate officer-involved shootings, has been assigned to home pending the outcome of this investigation.

The unmarked car was found Friday morning after Carson Sheriff’s station received two calls about the car being abandoned.  The car has collision damage and was missing a wheel.

Now, anyone with common sense would probably think there is only one reason why an incident like this would occur – drinking and driving.  Of course there may be other explanations – he was distracted, was doing something during the accident that he should not have been doing, etc.  But, in my experience, when a car that was involved in a collision is abandoned, typically the driver was under the influence.

If a vehicle is left at, or near, the scene of a collision and no one is there upon law enforcement’s arrival, their ability to prove that a DUI was committed is difficult.  They will have a hard time being able to establish the time of driving, whether the registered owner was the person operating the vehicle, they might not be able to obtain any blood alcohol sample, can’t show that the person didn’t ingest any substances after driving, etc.   What they are more likely to be able to do is to pursue an investigation for hit-and-run and leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information.

In order to be convicted of a hit-and-run in California, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you left the scene of an accident, without first identifying yourself, and another’s property was damaged in the accident.  A hit-and-run, while not the most serious crime on the books, can lead to a number of unpleasant consequences for a person convicted of one.  Not only is it a conviction on your record, you will be faced with fines, probation, 2 points on your license from the DMV and are likely to be responsible for any restitution to the victim.

If you or a loved one has been charged, or is being contacted by law enforcement, for a hit-and-run, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  There are many options available to you/our side on these cases and many of them begin with how we handle things in the initial stages.  Attorney Ross Erlich handles hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

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