Los Angeles is launching a system targeted to stop a growing epidemic of hit and run incidents and arrest those who commit hit and run. The new system will publish information on social media to alert the public to vehicles involved in hit and run incidents. The make, model, color and license plate number of a vehicle suspected to be involved in a hit and run will be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Nixle, a website where government agencies share information to other agencies and subscribers.
Los Angeles City Hall is also offering “standing rewards” for information leading to the arrest and conviction of hit and run drivers. The rewards are graded as follows depending on the circumstances of the case:
- $1,000 for property damage
- $5,000 if somebody was hurt
- $25,000 for serious injury, and
- $50,000 for a hit & run fatality1
Pros and Cons of LA’s New Hit and Run System
City officials believe the reporting system will deter people from fleeing the scene of an accident and bring justice to those who injure or kill another individual in a hit and run incident. According to the LA Times, about 20,000 hit and run collisions occur each year in LA, but recent public data shows that only one in five cases were solved from 2008 to 2012.
However, there could also be some drawbacks to the city’s plan. The system could tie up the phone lines with inaccurate information from individuals looking to cash in on the rewards system, potentially taking away resources from other areas of crime. Additionally, offering such a high reward could lead to false reports being made.
Consequences of Hit and Run (California Vehicle Code Section 20002(c))
If you are convicted of hit and run in Los Angeles, how you will be sentenced will depend on the circumstances of your case. Hit and run causing property damage only is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Hit and run causing injury to another person is a wobbler offense in California, meaning it could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. If you are convicted of felony hit and run causing injury, you could face up to three years in jail and a $10,000.
If your hit and run caused permanent, serious injury or death to another individual, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony under CVC 20001. A misdemeanor will result in a mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail and up to one year in jail. A felony carries a sentence of two to four years in prison. You could be fined up to $10,000 for both a misdemeanor and felony.
If you are accused of hit and run, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your freedom.
Do You Like LA’s Hit and Run Alert System?
What do you think about Los Angeles’ new hit and run alert system? Do you think these measures will help decrease the number of hit and run incidents occurring within LA? Does posting this information invade the privacy of the accused? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.