In California, a hit and run occurs when a driver of a motor vehicle knowingly leaves the scene of an accident without identifying themselves to the other party or parties involved. The severity of the penalty depends on whether the accident resulted in damage to property or death or injury to any persons involved.
Penalties for Hit and Run in California
If the accident only resulted in damage to property such as the vehicles involved in the accident or any surrounding structures, the hit and run can be charged as a misdemeanor offense under Vehicle Code Section 20002. However, if the accident resulted in death or injury to persons involved, the hit and run will likely be charged as a serious felony under Vehicle Code 20001.
A conviction for a felony hit and run involving death or serious, permanent injury may result in a two, three, or four-year sentence in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. If convicted of a misdemeanor hit and run offense in which only property damage results, the penalties include a sentence of up to one year in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. Under applicable circumstances, the penalties may also include restitution to the victims, which entails paying for the injuries or damages.
What you do as a driver of a motor vehicle following an accident is very important for avoiding a hit and run charge. California law requires you to stop your vehicle immediately, provide your name and current residential address, and produce your driver’s license or any other form of identification upon request.
If a person is injured as a result of the accident, you must render reasonable assistance including transporting (or making arrangement for transporting) the injured person to a hospital for medical treatment. In accidents that results in death, you must report the accident, without delay, to the nearest law enforcement agency and provide the aforementioned information if police are not already at the scene. Fleeing the accident involving a death can also add an additional five-year prison term to any vehicular manslaughter conviction under Penal Code Sections 191.5 or 192.
A hit and run charge is a serious matter that should be handled with the knowledge and expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A court may decide to reduce or completely eliminate the minimum imprisonment or fine in the interest of justice or in light of certain factual circumstances in your case. This may be achieved, for example, if your defense attorney can argue that you were not the driver at the time of the accident or that you did not willfully fail to stop your vehicle after the accident.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are being charged with hit and run in California, you need to speak with the hit and run attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. At Wallin & Klarich, our Orange County attorneys have been successfully handling hit and run cases for over 30 years, and we will put that experience to use in defending you in your case. We will work to defend your rights and ensure that the best possible defenses are raised on your behalf.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our team of highly skilled criminal defense attorneys will use their knowledge and experience to help you get the best result possible in your case.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.