A 55-year-old man who fled the scene of a vehicle-versus-pedestrian crash in Studio City that killed a musical collaborator of singer Christopher Cross was sentenced Monday to three years formal probation.

The Defendant, who earlier pleaded no contest to hit-and-run driving resulting in death, was also ordered to complete 18 months of mental health counseling as part of the sentence negotiated with prosecutors.

Vehicle Code section 20001, also known as felony hit-and-run involving death or injury, is a wobller in California.  That means that the District Attorney may prosecute the crime as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the conduct and facts of the case.  A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and no less than 90 days of county jail and no more than 1 year in county jail.  This is a 2-point violation on your driver’s license and you are also subject to payment of restitution.  A felony is punishable by the same fine, 2, 3 or 4 years in the state prison, restitution and the same point violation on your driver’s license.

If you have been contacted by local law enforcement regarding a hit-and-run, or have already been charged or booked on hit-and-run charges, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible.  Consult with an attorney before speaking with law enforcement, before walking into court and before you consider pleading guilty because “I did it, what’s the point of fighting the case?”  There are oftentimes many ways to resolve these types of cases, including, but not limited to, civilly compromising the case with the victim in order to have your case dismissed and establishing that you did not legally flee the scene of the accident, among others.

Do yourself a favor and consult with attorney Ross Erlich, for free, to learn what options are available to you before you make your first move.  Ross Erlich handles hit-and-run cases in Los Angeles county, San Bernardino county, Ventura county, Orange county and Riverside county.

The California State Senate approved a bill this week that would make it easier for people convicted of DUIs and other low-level misdemeanors to reduce jail time, and in some cases, avoid jail altogether. This is a further example of California’s need to deal with over crowded jails and a shrinking budget to house those inmates.

AB 2127 would allow Sheriff Departments to give people convicted of these offenses credit towards their jail time (and possibly work release time) through participation in educational programs, job training, parenting and substance-abuse classes.

This is, of course, good news for anyone who has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or other low-level misdemeanors such as assault, battery, petty theft, hit and run and numerous other violations. While the exact details, and certainty of passage, is not yet final, this bill would provide criminal defense attorney’s with a greater arsenal of tools to keep client’s out of jail and with their families.

The bill was passed by a vote of 21-14, but goes back to the State Assembly for approval of other amendments added onto the bill.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI, petty theft, assault and battery, hit and run or any other misdemeanor in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or in the Airport Court, contact attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible. Getting in touch with the prosecutor before any charges are filed can help obtain the most favorable result for you.

Contact Los Angeles Defense attorney Ross Erlich here.


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