It Doesn’t Matter Who’s At Fault: Hit and Run Law

by | Mar 29, 2015 | Criminal Defense
hit and run

“As soon as you run – whether or not you’re at fault – you’re a criminal”, Damian Kevitt says.  Approximately a year ago, a mystery driver struck Kevitt as he rode his bike.  The driver left Kevitt on the roadside, severely injured.  After a year, Kevitt is launching a billboard campaign:  his message, that the epidemic is bad and getting worse.  Around 7,500 people are injured or killed every year in Los Angeles.

A hit and run offense occurs when someone is involved in a car accident and leaves the scene without stopping to identify himself or render aid to anyone who may need assistance.  Hit and run offenses can be charged either as misdemeanors or felonies.  In most states, it is irrelevant who caused the accident.  The act is committed simply by leaving the scene.  Most states require that the hit and run occur on a highway or public road however many laws extend to parking lot collisions.

Criminal penalties vary from state to state.  Penalties for a felony hit and run can be severe.   In addition to court-imposed penalties, there are administrative penalties imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles for hit and run convictions.  If at fault in the accident, there is also the possibility of a civil suit for damages suffered.  As a result of a hit and run insurance rates can increase or sometimes result in a cancellation of an insurance policy.

California law requires any driver involved in a collision that results in injury, death or property damage to stop and provide contact information to the victim or police at the scene of the crash.

Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Under California Penal Code, a driver involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location where safest and do either of the following:

  • Locate and notify the owner of the property of the name address of the driver and owner vehicle involved, present his/her driver’s license and registration to the other driver as well as contact information or
  • Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle a written notice giving the contact information of the driver involved and notify police of the collision

Failure to comply with these requirements and leaving the season can result in a misdemeanor hit and run conviction for which punishment can be a fine up to $1,000, imprisonment up to 6 months, or a combination of both.

Felony Hit and Run
Under the California Penal Code, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or in the death of a person who does not stop their vehicle and provide contact information shall be punished by a fine of at least $1,000 up to $10,000 or imprisonment in state prison or county jail for up to one year (or combination of both).

If the accident involved results in death or permanent serious injury punishment can range from a fine of not less than $1,000 up to $10,000 or imprisonment in the state prison for 2-4 years, or in a county jail for 90 days to a year (or combination of both).

Commitment and Experience
The attorneys at The Rodriguez Law Group understand the impact a charge of hit and run can have on not only your criminal record but also your license and insurance.  It is important to have an attorney with the experience and commitment in handling your case.  If you have been arrested or are charged with hit and run in the Los Angeles area please call our office today.

To learn more, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm at 213-995-6767 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.