If you flee the scene of a traffic accident, you could be charged with hit and run which is a serious crime resulting in huge fines and jail time. There are two types of hit and run charges in the state of California.
Vehicle Code Section 20002 VC defines a misdemeanor hit and run crime. Vehicle Code Section 20001 VC defines a felony hit and run. Both statutes are discussed further below.
More and more, there's accidents on the road and people are being killed and injured. There's a lot of hit-and-run activity going on as well.
I believe the police and prosecutors are going to start to step up their efforts in catching and punishing those individuals who are involved in a hit and run accidents.
So, if you or a loved one is charged or being investigated for a hit and run accident, you should hire an attorney immediately.
I've been handling it and hit-and-run matters in the Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley for the past 30 years and I know the right strategy to employ so that you can end up with the best result.
It is a step-by-step process where you come into my office, we sit down and talk and we try to figure out exactly what has happened and what can be done to help you be successful.
When I talk success, I talk about either avoiding a filing in the first place, avoiding a conviction, trying to get some sort of a resolution that potentially involves you not going to jail, you not losing your driver's license.
Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will take a closer look at the laws below to give you a better understanding.
Vehicle Code 20002 VC – Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Most hit and run cases in California are prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense which is described as:
- VC 20002 – a hit-and-run involving only property damage but no injuries. This statute is always a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $1000 and up to 6 months in jail, along with a 2-point penalty on a driver's license.
Vehicle Code 2002 states a car driver's responsibilities after they are involved in an accident causing property damage. It states that you:
- required to immediately stop your vehicle nearby;
- have to provide other parties with your name and address;
- if requested, you have to also provide the other driver with your driver's license and car registration.
In some misdemeanor hit and run cases, you might be able to get the criminal charges dismissed as long as you accept responsibility for all the expenses.
This is known as a “civil compromise” and the requirements are listed under California Penal Code 1378 PC. This means if you meet all these requirements, the court could dismiss the criminal charges against you.
Vehicle Code 20001 VC – Felony Hit and Run
This statute makes it a serious felony crime to leave the scene of a car accident when someone was injured or killed:
- VC 20001 – a hit and run causing physical injury or death to someone. This statute is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. When a hit and run involves injury or death, however, the prosecution will normally file felony charges that carry up to $10,000 in fines and up to four years in jail.
Just like a misdemeanor hit and run, it doesn't matter who was at fault in causing the accident.
A common example of violations of VC 20001 felony hit and run include striking a pedestrian in a crosswalk and immediately fleeing the scene. Another example includes a DUI driver who becomes involved in a car accident and quickly leaves the scene.
These hit and run accidents in the San Fernando Valley are investigated by a specific division in the West Valley area if it occurs in that part of the Valley.
There's another location on Nolan Street in the heart of the Valley. It just depends on where the accident occurs when think and talk about exactly how it's going to be investigated and how it's going to be dealt with.
What are the Related California Crimes?
- Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC – driving under the influence,
- Vehicle Code 23153 VC – driving under the influence causing injury,
- Vehicle Code 23103 VC – reckless driving,
- Vehicle Code 14601 – driving with a suspended license,
- Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC – evading police in a vehicle.
- Penal Code 192(c) PC – vehicular manslaughter,
- Penal Code 191.5 PC – gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
Initial Strategy Meeting in Hit and Run Cases
I would suggest that if you or your loved one is involved in a hit and run accident in Los Angeles County, pick up the phone and make a phone call to me.
We will sit down and talk about what makes sense, strategy-wise, for you moving forward — whether or not you should go to the police and report the accident.
I have some people who are in a hit-and-run accident and leave their car at the scene. That's going to come back to you eventually. Sometimes it's better to take a proactive approach in dealing with it.
I have other people who are just involved in a hit and run accident and you can't tell whether or not the police are going to be able to figure out if you were involved because you left the scene.
The question is, is there any video? Did anybody get a driver's license, and even if they did, can somebody identify you?
Then there are other incidences where you're actually in the car. People see you. You know they got your license plate and you know it's going to back to you.
Your car has been damaged and eventually, the police are going to come, and obviously, you don't want to just sit and wait and hope. You want to take proactive steps towards dealing with the matter.
Experienced Hit and Run Lawyer
Part of the pain in dealing with a hit and run accident is that you as an individual are worried about what could potentially happen to you.
So, that's something of great concern to people. They don't want the police to come to their home, their business, in front of their neighbors and friends and arrest them and embarrass them.
So, you've come to the right place. I've handled many hit-and-run accidents over the years. I know what it takes to be successful.
You'll come and sit down and we'll meet and we'll get a strategy together that fits your circumstances.
Not all circumstances are the same, and not all strategies are the same. Pick up the phone now and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.
The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and we offer a free case review by calling (213) 542-0979.