When you cause a vehicle collision, it can be very scary. For some people, the easiest way to deal with this is by driving away. However, you should never leave the scene of a car accident. If you do, you could face hit and run charges under California Vehicle Code Section 20001. In certain situations, you could face felony charges for hit and run.
Hit and Run (VC 20001)
Under CVC 20001 and CVC 20002, a driver involved in a traffic accident must stop his or her vehicle:
- When a person is injured or seriously injured,
- When a person is killed,
- When a vehicle is damaged,
- When the car hit was moving or parked, OR
- When a person, animal or any kind of property has been hit
If you are involved in a traffic collision, you must legally make an effort to locate and notify the owner of the vehicle or property and offer reasonable assistance to any injured person. Failure to do any of these things and leaving the scene of an accident could result in you facing hit and run charges, even if you did not cause the accident.
Is Hit and Run a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Hit and run is a wobbler offense, meaning it could be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the circumstances of your case. In most hit and run cases, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. However, you could face felony hit and run charges if a person was injured or killed as a result of the vehicle collision.
It does not matter if you did not cause the vehicle accident. You could be charged with felony hit and run if another person caused the incident and you left the scene.
Penalties for Hit and Run in California
The consequences for a hit and run conviction are very confusing. If you are charged with hit and run causing injury under VC 20001, you could face up to 364 days in jail and fines of up to $10,000. A felony is punishable by up to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Hit and run causing serious injury or death could also be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries a mandatory jail sentence of at least 90 days and up to one year. A felony conviction is punishable by up to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Additionally, the California DMV will add two points to your driving record, your insurance provider will likely raise your premiums, and any person you injured or caused to damage to his or her property will be able to sue you if you are convicted of hit and run.
Contact the Hit and Run Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing felony charges for the crime of hit and run, you need to speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. At Wallin & Klarich, our hit and run attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing hit and run charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich hit and run attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.