D’Emilia Law’s stellar advocacy keeps client from prison sentence following a fatal, accidental hit-and-run in Yonkers
Challenge: Our client was a 25-year-old man with no criminal history. In March 2019 he went clubbing in Yonkers with a group of friends and drove them home in the early hours of the next morning. On his way home, he drove around a double-parked car and realized he had hit another man passed out in the street, lying next to his idling vehicle. Panicked, the client fled the scene. He later ditched his car in Connecticut after stripping his license plates.
Police accessed surveillance of the incident in Yonkers and in Connecticut. About a month later, they arrested our client for murder and attempted evasion (also known as “leaving the scene of an accident”). He was facing years in prison sentence if convicted.
Solution: The client was referred by his relative and former client to D’Emilia Law. He was devastated by what had transpired. It was our goal to demonstrate that he was truly remorseful for both the accident and the way he reacted, and to negotiate a settlement with the Westchester County D.A.
As it happened, the client had encountered the victim while at the club. The victim was intoxicated at the time and had instigated a fight that the cops and security broke up. It was a sheer coincidence that they had crossed paths again. But the victim was visibly inebriated by several people earlier in the night and we believed it was very likely the reason why he was sprawled out in the street from the outset.
We investigated this detail thoroughly and urged the D.A. to do so, as well. Surveillance footage from the nearby apartment building showed that the victim was too intoxicated to even sit upright, which is why he fell out of his car.
Our client had just driven through the wrong darkened street at the wrong time, and we were able to confidently defend against the murder charge. But defending evasion was perhaps even more difficult. The client knew he had done something wrong but was more worried that the accident would be tied to the prior altercation. Through months of motions and communications, we explained it was why he had fled and stripped his plates and that no malice was involved.
Result: Led by Paul D’Emilia, the firm focused their efforts communicating and negotiating with the Westchester D.A.’s office. D’Emilia appeared in-person and via videoconference (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) to fight on his behalf. After several months, D’Emilia Law secured a favorable resolution. The client accepted the reduced charge of criminally negligent homicide – which acknowledged that the incident was an accident. The client was sentence to probation for five years.
We were extremely pleased to secure this significant reduction of the charges, which affirmed our client’s innocence and kept him out of jail. Leaving the scene of a crime is a serious offense, and had the client not called the experienced NYC criminal defense lawyers at D’Emilia Law, the matter might not have been resolved with the same favorable results. He was referred to us by his relative, who was a former client, and we were proud to keep his family intact. Furthermore, we were also proud to uphold our reputation for treating clients like our own family.