California Hit and Run Laws– FAQs (Vehicle Code Section 20001-20002)

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1.      What happens if I stop at the scene of an accident I am involved in, but don’t exchange information?

Providing other parties involved in a traffic collision with your name, address and vehicle registration information is part of your responsibility regardless of whether you are at fault or not. If you fail to exchange information, you can be charged with violation of hit and run laws under CVC 20001 and 20002 1.

2.      Can I be charged with violating hit and run laws if I hit an object other than a vehicle and leave the scene?

Yes. Leaving the scene of any accident causing damage to another person’s property, no matter what it is, qualifies as a hit and run law violation. A witness to the accident could report your license plate number to the police, and you could be facing hit and run charges.

3.      I hit a parked car and stopped to look for the owner but couldn’t find anyone, so I left. Is that hit and run law violation?

Yes. California law requires you leave a note in a conspicuous place on the vehicle you damaged if you cannot locate the owner of the vehicle. You are also required to notify law enforcement of the accident.

4.      Am I required to give an injured person a ride to a hospital?

Hit and Run Causing Injury
Hit and Run Laws – Causing Injury

You are required under California’s hit and run laws to provide reasonable assistance to anyone injured. Most people would be nervous about transporting an injured person in their own car, simply out of concern of becoming liable for additional injuries. Calling an ambulance or the paramedics satisfies your responsibility.

5.      Is hit and run involving an injury a misdemeanor or a felony?

It depends. Hit and run causing injury or serious bodily injury may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. In California, this hit and run law is what is known as a “wobbler.” How you are charged will depend on the seriousness of the injuries sustained in the accident to anyone other than yourself and your previous criminal record, if any.

6.      I killed someone in a drunk-driving accident and left the scene. What am I facing?

You can be prosecuted for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated pursuant to Penal Code Section 191.5 2, as well as for a felony hit and run law violation. If you are convicted of either or both charges, your sentence can be enhanced by an additional, consecutive five years in prison for leaving the scene. Please see our section under Intoxicated Vehicular Manslaughter for more information about this practice area.

Wallin & Klarich will fight for your freedom in your hit and run case.

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Contact Wallin & Klarich today

A hit and run law violation is a serious offense in California. If you cause damage to property or injure or kill someone in a traffic collision and leave the scene, you risk incarceration, steep fines and action on your driving record. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich give you the best opportunity to avoid these consequences. Consult with a Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney today who is knowledgeable in hit and run cases so you can understand all of your rights.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has over 40 years of experience protecting the rights of our clients. We will provide you with the personal attention you deserve to make certain you get the best legal representation possible. We can help you challenge the case against you. We will do everything possible to help you win 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.


All of the information provided on this page was retrieved from the following sources:

1. [California Vehicle Code Section 20001 & 20002: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=veh&group=19001-20000&file=20000-20018]

2. [California Penal Code Section 191.5: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/appndxa/penalco/penco191_5.htm]

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