A car accident can easily turn into a hit and run. California law requires you to stop your car, clear it from traffic if possible, and exchange insurance information with any other drivers involved in the accident. If you only hit an inanimate object or parked car, you must still try to locate the owner of the damaged property/car or leave a note with your name, address, and the circumstances surrounding the accident. If you drive away after an accident without giving your information to the other driver or property owner, you could be facing hit and run charges.
Hit and Run Prosecution
In California, there are two types of hit and run offenses: a hit and run causing death or bodily injury to another person and a hit and run causing property damage.
Hit and Run Causing Death/Bodily Injury (CVC 20001)
To convict you of hit and run causing death/bodily injury, the prosecutor must prove the following:
• While driving, you were involved in a vehicle accident
• The accident caused the death or permanent serious injury of another person; AND
• You knew that you had been involved in an accident that injured another person or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had been injured
The prosecution must also prove that you did not perform any of the following duties in relation to the accident:
• Stop immediately at the scene of the accident
• Provide reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident; OR
• Give the following information to the injured person, the driver or occupants of the other vehicle involved in the accident, and/or any police officer at the scene of the accident:
- Your name and current residential address, and
- The registration number of the vehicle you were driving.
You may have to perform other duties following an accident depending on the circumstances of the accident. These circumstances include where:
• If you were not the owner of the vehicle, then you must also provide the name and current residential address of the owner of the vehicle.
• If an occupant in your vehicle was injured, then you must also provide the names and current residential addresses of the injured occupants of your vehicle and your own driver’s license to the injured party or driver of the other vehicle.
• If death resulted from the accident, you must notify the police department in the city where the accident occurred of the death
Hit and Run Causing Property Damage (CVC 20002)
To convict you of hit and run causing property damage, the prosecutor must show that:
• While driving, you were involved in a vehicular accident
• The accident caused damage to someone else’s property
• You knew that you had been involved in an accident that caused property damage or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that property had been damaged; AND
• You willfully failed to perform any of the following duties:
- Stop immediately at the scene of the accident
- Provide the owner of the damaged property with your name and current residential address and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle whose vehicle you were driving; AND
- Without unnecessary delay, you notified the appropriate authorities regarding the accident
Punishment for a Hit and Run Conviction
The punishment for a hit and run conviction is severe. Depending upon the seriousness of the accident, a hit and run can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
If convicted of misdemeanor hit and run causing death or serious bodily injury, you face imprisonment in county jail for up to one year, a fine of up to $10,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. If convicted of felony hit and run causing death or serious bodily injury, you face imprisonment in state prison for up to 4 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both a fine and imprisonment.
If convicted of hit and run causing damage to the property of another and failing to notify the property owner, your offense is a misdemeanor. You face imprisonment in county jail for up to 6 months, up to a $1,000 fine, or both a fine and imprisonment.
California Hit and Run Defense Attorney
The law firm of Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of hit and run. Our experience has made us well-versed in hit and run law. We have aided numerous clients in having their hit and run charges reduced or dismissed.
Gathering the proper facts surrounding the alleged hit and run is important to your defense. This is why once you retain Wallin & Klarich we will immediately acquire all of the discovery on your case. This discovery includes attempting to locate and interview all witnesses to the incident that could be potentially beneficial to your case. We will prepare the most effective defense strategy, tailored to your case to help you win your case.
Being accused of a serious charge, such as hit and run, demands that you secure the top-quality criminal defense representation that Wallin & Klarich provides. We have the skill and experience to help you win your case. Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.