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Civil Compromise in Amanda Bynes Hit and Run

Under California law when a victim of a misdemeanor crime has been fully compensated for their out of pocket expenses the judge may permanently stay the criminal proceedings and discharge the defendant therefrom.

What the heck does that mean?

Recently actress Amanda Bynes was charged with a misdemeanor charge of hit and run. She was allegedly involved in a motor vehicle accident and failed to identify herself or render aid or contact law enforcement. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office charged her with a misdemeanor. her lawyer, who obviously has a keen understanding of the law was able to negotiate a “Civil Compromise” and effectively get the misdemeanor charge of hit and run dismissed.

Under California Penal Code Sections 1377 and 1378, when one is charged with a misdemeanor crime, the judge may stay or stop the criminal action and discharge or release the criminal defendant from the case forever when the judge is satisfied that the victim of the crime has been fully compensated or paid for the damages.

Often this type of settlement is reached in hit and run cases where there are only property damages to a car or some other tangible item which has been damaged. In Bynes’ case, she is alleged to have hit another car, left the scene and got charged with a crime. She paid for the damages to the other car and got herself released from the criminal case.

The civil compromise, although rarely employed, can be used in many other type of cases. For example, if there is a fight or battery charge and someone sustains an injury and medical bills. If the defendant pays the medical bills and any other “out of pocket” expenses of the victim, the case can be compromised under Penal Code Sections 1377 and 1378.

Even some theft cases can be resolved this way. For example if someone is alleged to have stolen an item or items from Macy’s, we can contact the store, pay them back for their costs of investigation or out of pocket costs and then ask the judge to compromise the case and discharge the defendant.

The civil compromise is an often underused and misunderstood method of settling misdemeanor cases. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, talk you your lawyer about a civil compromise. Make sure your lawyer is willing to think outside of the box about effective ways to get you our of harms way.

If you have any questions about a hit and run, a civil compromise or any other criminal law matter, call me:

(818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or email me at: or visit my sites: or