Hit and Run Consequences in California

person burglarizing home

So, imagine you are out driving and suddenly you hit something or someone. In a moment like this, your fight or flight instinct skyrockets, and how you react will have a direct impact on the types of consequences you will receive as a result.

Do you get out of the car to help out, call the police, and do your best to make sure everyone is OK…or do you burn rubber and take off? Do you stay even if you have been drinking?

The obvious answer is yes, you need to stay and make sure everyone is OK and do the right thing. Unfortunately, fear can push people to make decisions that are not in line with their personal beliefs, and the consequences can be disastrous.

Hit and Run? Now you’re at fault!

Even if the accident was the other person’s fault, if you leave the scene without addressing the situation, you can count on law enforcement to immediately find you to be responsible for the collision. It makes sense; if you weren’t the one at fault, why would you leave? There are certain circumstances where you are allowed to leave the scene, but you will likely have to prove your innocence in a court of law no matter what.

  • Did the other car hit you? If you leave the scene of an accident without swapping information with the other driver, you are automatically at fault no matter what actually happened on the road.
  • Did you know that the law requires you to stop immediately after your accident to provide all of your information to the other person? Leaving the scene of an accident in California is a crime that is taken very seriously.
  • These laws apply no matter who is at fault, so remember that before you leave the scene of the accident.
  • There is an exception to this: if you leave the scene of the accident in order to seek medical attention for yourself or anyone else in the vehicle.

Bottom line, do not leave the scene of an accident until you have swapped information with the other person or until law enforcement tells you it is OK to leave.

Offenses Causing Property Damage

If no one was injured during the course of your alleged hit and run, you can expect lenience in comparison to other hit and run offenses. This is only a misdemeanor crime, where you could face the following punishments:

  • A maximum of 6 months in jail.
  • A maximum fine of $1,000.
  • Both of these punishments.

Offenses with minor injuries

The penalties you receive are directly related to the amount of damage caused during the course of your alleged hit and run. Did you know that any prior violations could result in increased penalties for your hit and run offense? A prior on your criminal record can eliminate opportunities to secure a manageable plea bargain or avoid jail time by accepting an alternative sentencing program.

Misdemeanor Punishments

  • You may face a maximum jail sentence of one year.
  • You may face a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • You could end up getting both of these punishments.

Felony Punishments

  • You could spend a maximum of 3 years in jail.
  • There is also a potential fine of $1,000 and $10,000.
  • You could face both of these punishments.

Hit and Run Causing Seriously Bodily Injury

When a hit and run causes serious bodily injury, the courts are going to take your case more seriously. Getting into a fender bender and then fleeing from the scene isn’t going to affect a person’s life in any meaningful way, other than financially. A conscious act to leave the scene of a collision when someone is in need of medical assistance puts their life at risk, usually resulting in a felony hit and run offense.

Misdemeanor Punishments

  • You could spend a minimum of 90 days in jail and a maximum of 1 year in jail.
  • You may be forced to pay a fine of $1,000 and $10,000.
  • There is the chance of receiving both of these punishments.

Felony Punishments

  • There is the potential of spending up to four years in prison.
  • You could end up with a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • There is the chance of receiving both fines.

Hit and Run Defense Assistance

If you are being charged with misdemeanor or felony hit and run, speaking with an attorney that has experience with these types of charges will benefit you. Experienced attorneys know how to evaluate your case facts and provide you with information that will help you make informed decisions that are in your best interest.

Those with hit and run charges in Southern California can call (888) 250-2865 to speak with a MacGregor & Collins, LLP hit and run lawyer about your case.

What is Hit and Run?

California Penal Code Section 20002 defines Hit and Run as refusing to stop at the time of an accident, or failing to present one’s identifying information.

Determining Factors of Hit and Run:

Before any case can be brought to court, there are factors of the crime that will need to be verified. Hit and Run CVC 20002 is no different, and these factors include:

  • The accused did not stop at the time of an accident and/or
  • The accused refused to present an ID, or vehicle information
  • The accused knew that an accident occurred

Outlined in the code are:

  • Whether a property was damaged,  vs. whether a person was injured
  • In the event that someone was injured, the results will be felony charges as per 20001

Penalties for California Penal Code 20002

The fines and punishments for Hit and Run, if convicted, include:

  • Misdemeanor: Jail: up to 1 yr| Fines: up to $1,000 | Informal probation | Victim restitution

In addition, the DMV will deduct two points from the offender’s driver’s license.

It should be noted that felony or misdemeanor charges are determined by specific circumstances of the case, and the court will deliberate on these, before sentencing someone found guilty of Hit and Run.

How to Hire a Orange County Law Firm for Hit and Run:

Choosing a lawyer can distinguish between serving time in jail for hit and run, or pursuing alternative sentencing. A hit and run can leave you holding a criminal record, but it doesn’t have to be the case. If you’ve been accused of misdemeanor hit and run under California Vehicle Code 20002, Call MacGregor and Collins at 949-250-6097 today.

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