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Hit and Run

A hit and run accident occurs when any driver involved in an accident fails to immediately provide his or her name and contact information/residence location to another driver involved in the accident. Hit and run crimes involving injury or death (VC20001) are punishable by fines as high as $10,000 and incarceration in a state prison for up to four years. If the crime involves only property damage (VC20002), it is punishable by a fine of up to $1000 up to six months in the county jail. 

If you have been charged with hit and run in California, here are some important things to know:

-     You can be charged with hit and run even if the accident was not your fault. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident involving either property damage or injury without providing your contact information to the other driver. Regardless of who is at fault, both drivers are required to immediately stop and provide contact information to one another before leaving the scene.

-     California Vehicle Code 20001 still applies even if injured persons were passengers in your vehicle. You can be charged with a felony if you leave the accident scene without providing your contact information when any person is injured.

-     If you are injured in the accident and need to seek necessary, immediate medical attention for yourself or someone else, you may not face hit and run charges for leaving the scene.

-     You can be charged with misdemeanor hit and run (VC20002) even if no vehicle damage has occurred. A misdemeanor hit and run involves any property damage that occurs as a result of your accident. This includes damage to signage, fencing, a mailbox, or even another person’s pet. Always stop and provide your contact information when involved in an accident.

-     California Penal Code 1377 allows you to resolve a misdemeanor hit and run case with a “civil compromise.” If you are able to compromise with the other driver to find a solution, you may be spared probation, jail time or other court-ordered punishments. 

Penalties for Hit and Run in California

Hit and Run Causing Injury California VC20001(b)(1): This is known as a “wobbler” – a case in which you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge will depend on the seriousness of the injuries involved and your criminal record, if you have one. Punishments for a misdemeanor conviction of CVC20001(b)(1) include:

-     Imprisonment in jail for up to one year;

-     Fines between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars; or

-     Both, imprisonment and a fine.

A felony conviction under CVC 20001(b)(1) is punishable by:

-     Up to 3 years in a state prison;

-     A fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars; or

-     Both imprisonment and a fine.

Hit-and-Run Causing Serious Bodily Injury or DeathCVC20001(b)(2): This is also recognized as a “wobbler” and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Due to the more serious nature of this crime, the penalties are more severe. Misdemeanor punishments include:

-     A minimum of 90 days and up to 1 year in jail,

-     A fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 dollars, or

-     Both imprisonment and a fine.

A felony conviction under CVC 20001(b)(2), is punishable by:

-     Two, three, or four years in prison,

-     A fine of between $1,000 and $10,000, or

-     Both imprisonment and a fine.

-     A charge of Vehicular Manslaughter would add a consecutive 5-year term in prison if convicted.

Hit-and-Run Causing Property Damage CVC 20002: This charge is only a misdemeanor and is punishable by:

-     Up to six months in jail,

-     A fine of not more than $1,000 dollars, or

-     Both imprisonment and a fine.

Beyond the mandated penalties listed above, additional consequences can pile up following a hit and run accident. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will add a minimum of 2 points to your driving record for a conviction. Receiving four points in a 12-month period will mean that your driver’s license is suspended for a minimum of 6 months. Your insurance provider will most certainly raise premiums or cancel coverage. The owner of property you have damaged, or anyone injured in the accident may sue you. If anyone is killed in the accident, in addition to your criminal punishments, the survivors of the victim are entitled to sue you in a civil case for wrongful death. The monetary damages can be devastating in such cases.

The penalties for hit and run, regardless of whether misdemeanor or felony charges apply, are extremely serious. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident, please contact our experts at San Diego DUI Attorney, who have been handling these cases for nearly thirty years. We are prepared to use our extensive experience and resources to get you a successful outcome. Please contact us for a FREE initial consultation at (619) 535-7150.

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