Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When a Hit & Run Charge Beats a DUI, California drunk driving attorneys note

There are times when you are drunk and hit another vehicle, sometimes you know it and sometimes you are not sure, say California DUI lawyers.

If you believe there was no collision, you can continue to drive; if there was no actual accident but you stopped, DUI cops may still bust you in California.

If there was a DUI accident, you will be tested.

If it later turns out you did hit and you ran - but were not tested - then it's tough for the cops to prove a DUI, California DUI criminal defense attorneys emphasize.  This story is another example.

A hit-and-run victim is dead, police know the driver who was involved – but still no San Diego DUI or Hit & Run arrest.
Robert Fisher, 54, died on the night of Jan. 6.  Fisher, a homeless man, was crossing the road near Main and Jamacha in El Cajon when an SDG&E worker hit him with a company truck and sped off.
El Cajon Hit Run“If it had been you or I – we’d be under arrest right now.  I don’t know why this guy hasn’t been arrested,” said Dan Gilleon, the attorney representing Fisher’s son.  “They know he was driving at the time.  They have the truck and the truck was damaged.”
The 56 year-old SDG&E employee has been suspended, but has not been charged.
“It’s possible SDG&E got to their employee quickly, got him a lawyer and told him to shut up – not answer any questions – and the police are just saying ‘we’re going to arrest you in due course.’  I don’t know, though,” said Gilleon.
The worker’s driving record shows a DUI back in 2005.  SDG&E has not released his name.
“During the hiring process, prospective employees go through appropriate background checks.  SDG&E follows all applicable Department of Transportation regulations,” according to SDG&E spokesperson Michelle Nixon.
Gilleon plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit by the end of January.
“What was he trying to hide?  The most obvious explanation – he didn’t allow himself to be tested – is that he was under the influence just like he was back in 2005.  We don’t know that because he didn’t stick around,” said Gilleon.