California Hit and Run Defenses (CVC 20001 and CVC 20002)
Defending a hit and run charge under California Vehicle Code 20001 and 20002 1 will depend on the facts of your case. No two accidents are the same, and there may be extenuating circumstances that give rise to a viable hit and run defense. If every element of the crime is not met, you can be relieved of the criminal liability for a charge of hit and run.
At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending drivers accused of hit and run offenses in California. By thoroughly examining all of the evidence against you, we will be able to identify the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. We will challenge the validity of the charges against you.
Here are some of the possible defenses our attorneys can present to help you win your case.
Defenses to Hit and Run
1. You Were Not Driving the Vehicle Involved
Only the driver of a vehicle can be prosecuted for hit and run. If your attorney can establish that someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision, you have a valid hit and run defense.
2. You Did Not Willfully Leave the Scene
You have a valid hit and run defense if you did not willfully leave the scene of the accident. For example, you were knocked unconscious in the course of the accident, and one of your passengers panicked, pushed you out of the driver’s seat, and sped away. Although a hit and run occurred while you had been driving, your failure to stop was not willful.
3. You Did Not Willfully Fail to Provide Required Information
One of your most important responsibilities when you are involved in a traffic collision is to exchange information with the other parties involved. You are required to give your name, address, and the vehicle’s registration number to anyone involved, as well as to law enforcement on the scene. If you were unable to exchange information for reasons beyond your control, you have a valid hit and run defense.
For example, while driving your car, you are injured in a traffic accident and become incapacitated. Your passenger fears for your safety and decides that you need immediate medical attention. He or she drives you away to the hospital before you exchange information with the other parties involved. Therefore, your failure to provide required information was not willful.
4. You Have No Knowledge of Any Damage
The element of “knowing” or “reasonably should have known” the accident caused any damage is open to subjective interpretation. Your Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney may be able to show that you had no knowledge that damage occurred as a result of the accident.
For example, you are driving your car and you rear-end another vehicle at a stop light. You and the other driver stop, but neither of you notice any damage so you continue on without exchanging information. Later, the police show up to charge you with hit and run after the other driver realizes there are in fact damages to his/her car. However you had no knowledge of any damage at the time of the accident. You may have a valid hit and run defense.
5. You Have No Knowledge of Any Injury
Similar to the hit and run defense presented above, you must have known or reasonably should have known that an injury or a death resulted from the accident. Often, an injury isn’t apparent until well after an accident occurs.
For example, you bump into another car in a crowded parking lot, and no property damage occurs. You and the occupants of the other vehicle decide to move on. The next day, one of the passengers in the other car begins complaining about shoulder pain, goes to a doctor, and discovers a slight tear in a ligament. No visible injuries had occurred. Your criminal defense attorney could argue that you had no knowledge of the injury at the time of the accident, nor was it reasonable that you should have or could have known about the passenger’s injury.
6. You Were Unable to Provide Reasonable Assistance
If you were prevented from giving reasonable assistance to an injured person, you cannot be held criminally liable for the hit and run.
For example, you collide with another vehicle on a remote road, which results in serious injuries to multiple people in the other car. However, you are trapped in your vehicle by a faulty seatbelt and cannot get out of your car. One of the victims dies. Distraught and confused, you drive away to seek help. Since you were prevented from offering assistance to the injured, your Wallin & Klarich attorney could argue that your only option to help the others was to leave the scene.
Speak to an attorney at Wallin & Klarich today if you have been accused of hit and run.
If you or someone you know has been accused of hit and run, you need to understand that there may be options available that could help you defeat the charge. Speak to a criminal hit and run defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich today to learn how we can protect your rights. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience successfully representing our clients facing hit and run charges.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich will provide you with the personal attention you deserve while your criminal case is proceeding. Hiring an attorney from Wallin & Klarich could be the difference between having your case dismissed or reduced and pleading guilty to a charge that carries serious consequences, such as jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of your driving privilege. We will explore every available option to get you the best result possible in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [California Vehicle Code Section 20001 & 20002: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=veh&group=19001-20000&file=20000-20018]↩