You can be charged with a hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident in which there was damage or injury without leaving proper documentation for the other driver or drivers. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges, a criminal record, significant fines, points on your driving record or jail time.
California Vehicle Code Hit and Run Provisions
- Section 20002 – If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in property damage only, you must stop, locate the owner or person in charge of the property and provide proper driver documentation. If you cannot locate the owner of the other vehicle, you cannot leave the scene until you have done two specific things:
- Leave a note in a clearly visible place on the vehicle or other property damaged with the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and a description of what happened; and
- Report the accident to the police department of the city where the collision occurred or the California Highway Patrol.
- Sections 20001, 20003 and 20004 – The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident. In addition to performing all the actions included in Section 20002, the driver must render reasonable aid to the injured party or parties.
Potential Penalties for Hit and Run:
In California, hit and run charges are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. The classification depends on a number of factors, including whether the collision resulted in injury, the extent of damage, and the driver's past criminal record.
- Misdemeanor Hit and Run – Leaving the scene of a minor traffic accident with no physical injuries will likely result in a misdemeanor charge with a possible penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1000 or both.
- Felony Hit and Run – Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious injury or death of a person involved in the accident will result in a felony charge with a possible penalty of up to four years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
If you have been charged with a hit and run, call Jones Law today to get an experienced attorney on your case.