Sec 20001 of the California Vehicle Code defines the crime of hit and run as a motor vehicle hitting either a person, resulting in injury or death, or property causing damage. The damage is committed but what makes it a hit and run crime is the failure to perform any or all of the following duties mandated under the law, which are as follows:
• Stopping immediately at the scene of the accident;
• Upon request, showing of driver’s license or other alternative identification cards to the other parties in the accident or to police officers at the scene;
• Providing reasonable assistance to persons injured due to the collision;
• Providing other parties, such as police officers the following information:
o Full name and current residence;
o Registration details of the vehicle;
o If the vehicle is not owned by the driver in the accident, name and address of the true owner.
The crime of hit and run can either be a misdemeanor or a felony crime. If the collision or accident results in death or injury to another person, then the crime is a felony hit and run (Sec 20001 VC). The said injuries must be to a third party, such as the driver or passenger of the other vehicle or a pedestrian. If the accident results in property damage, then it is considered as a misdemeanor (Sec 20002 VC).
For felony hit and run charges, the following are the imposable penalties under Sec 20001 VC:
• Probation with no jail time or up to three years in state prison, if the resulting injury was slight;
• Ninety days in county jail to four years in state prison, should there be death or serious permanent injury resulting from the accident;
• If the individual at fault flees the scene of the accident, an additional penalty of five years in state prison is imposed.
In order to determine the severity of the penalty to be imposed, the following factors are to be considered:
• Extent of injuries sustained;
• Number of persons injured or killed;
• The state of driver, if intoxicated or driving recklessly before the collision occurred;
• If the defendant came forward to take responsibility over the accident;
• If the defendant called 911 or legal authorities to secure aid for the victim/s of the crash;
• Defendant’s driving and criminal record, if any;
• Determining if the defendant was adequately insured to compensate the victims for their injury or loss;
The commission of a hit and run is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.