Rewards for Hit-and-Runs
According to a recent article from the Los Angeles Daily News, a reward system is now offered to those who assist in the apprehension of hit-and-run-drivers. The ordinance approved this week by the Los Angeles City Council seeks to “end the culture of driving apathy” and reduce the mounting hit-and-run incidents the city faces.
The reward scheme sets up various levels of rewards depending on the severity of the crime and will offer rewards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Each hit-and-run reward will be determined on a case-by-case by basis and subject still to City Council approval.
Hit-and-run crashes are increasing in many major cities, and fatalities that result from these type of accidents are rising nationally, thus legislators in several states look to enforce stricter laws to address this growing issue. These crashes have become so prevalent in Los Angeles that almost half of all collisions in the city involve a driver who fled the scene.
So how can a Los Angeles citizen be rewarded? Those who provide information that helps authorities find, arrest and convict hit-and-run drivers will be given a reward. Although this new reward scheme is now in place, the issuance of the reward still requires council approval.
The new reward scheme is set up as follows:
- Hit-and-runs resulting in property damage: $1,000 reward
- Hit-and-runs resulting in minor non-permanent injuries: $5,000 reward
- Hit-and-runs resulting in permanent-injury: $25,000 reward
- Hit-and-runs resulting in fatality: $50,000 reward
In a prior blog we addressed hit-and-run law as it currently stands in California. California has both felony and misdemeanor hit and run laws depending on the damage and severity of the incident.
As a felony, the California Vehicle Code 2001 penalizes drivers who are involved in an accident that results in an injury to another and who does not stop their vehicle and provide contact information. If convicted of felony hit-and-run a defendant faces imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or a fine up to $10,000. If the hit-and-run involves a permanent injury to another or death the prison sentence increase to a potential 2-4 years or 90 days to 1 year in the county jail, along with a fine up to $10,000. A misdemeanor carries a fine up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 6 months.
California law requires the DMV to revoke or suspend a driver’s license for certain violations. A hit-and-run conviction results in a 1-year revocation and there is no possibility for a restricted license. Prior to reinstating one’s license, a defendant must complete a 24-hour traffic school and provide proof of insurance. With a conviction, a defendant’s insurance premium will also increase typically for 3 years.
Hit-and-run offenses are treated seriously and have steep penalties both to your criminal record and your driving record. It is important if you have been in an accident to stop your vehicle and not leave the scene. If you have been charged with a hit-and run you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are facing charges in Los Angeles or surrounding areas contact The Rodriguez Law Group. As a former prosecutor Ambrosio E. Rodriguez knows the court system and has the experience and skill to achieve the best outcome for your case.