Hit & Run
You Need a Strong Defense Against Charges of Hit and Run
People who speed away from the site of an automobile collision are commonly associated with hit-and-run incidents. While this is a hit-and-run incident, California regulations on these sorts of accidents cover a broader spectrum of actions.
Even if you stop your car after an accident, if you don't identify yourself or offer contact information, you might be accused of a hit-and-run. These rules apply regardless of who was at blame, the magnitude of the damages, or the severity of the injuries. At Law Office of Michael L. Fell, you can speak to a hit and run lawyer who can explain the subtleties of these legislation and how they can relate to your case.
Call us right away at (949) 585-9055 if you have been in or accused of being in a hit and run accident.
The Vehicle Code of California and Hit-and-Runs
If you fail to complete the following after a collision, you may be charged with a hit and run, according to California Vehicle Code 20000 – 20010:
- Stop your car right away
- Provide your accurate name and address
- Upon inquiry, provide your driver's license and car registration details
- File a written report with the Highway Patrol or the police department of the city where the accident happened
If you damage someone else's property and the owners are not there at the time of the accident, you must still disclose your information, either in person or by note, according to California law. If you leave the scene of a property damage collision without identifying yourself, you may face a misdemeanor hit and run accusation.
If someone is injured in an accident, you must also give appropriate aid if they ask you for it it. This can be accomplished by contacting emergency services and sending any injured persons to a medical practitioner.
Potential Consequences for Hit-and-Run Convictions
Hit-and-run violations are vigorously pursued. Even a small fender bender or accident might result in charges. In some cases, if you did not hit another vehicle but your reckless driving caused an accident between other vehicles, you could be charged.
In California, the penalties for hit-and-runs vary based on the severity of the crash and whether or not property damage or injuries were sustained. A hit-and-run is a "wobbler," which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the collision just caused property damage, you will be punished with a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, you might face the following penalties:
- A county jail sentence of up to six months
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Your driver's license will be docked two points
If another person was injured or died as a result of the collision, the hit and run is deemed a felony crime. If you're accused with this crime, you'll face the following penalties:
- Prison terms of two, three, or four years
- Fines of up to $10,000 are possible
- Your driver's license will be docked two points.
If the hit-and-run occurred while you were inebriated or driving without a license, the penalties will be increased.
The court may approve a civil settlement if the hit and run is your first crime and is prosecuted as a misdemeanor, and you were driving properly. In this case, your misdemeanor hit and run accusation may be dropped if you compensate the victims for the cost of the destroyed property.
Hit and Run's Unintended Consequences
Leaving the scene of an accident without permission can result in a driver's license suspension or revocation, as well as enhanced damages if the other parties involved decide to launch a lawsuit against you. Because many insurance companies refuse to cover hit-and-run accidents, any damages awarded to the plaintiff would almost certainly have to be paid out of pocket.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Prosecutors must establish that you voluntarily fled the site of an accident knowing there was damage or injury before you may be charged with a hit and run. With this in mind, the following are some probable defenses to a hit-and-run charge in California:
Your property was the only property damaged - You may claim that California law does not compel you to stop and identify yourself if the damage was only to your own car.
You were unaware of the accident - You may not be held accountable for a hit and run if you were unaware that you were involved in an accident.
You were not involved at all - You cannot be prosecuted with a hit and run if your car was stolen and the driver then fled the scene of an accident they caused.
You were not driving – If the driver fails to stop and share information in a hit-and-run situation, just the motorist is held accountable.
Call Us Today for a Free Legal Consultation
We are standing by to help you through this difficult time. If you have been charged with or accused of a hit and run in California, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.