If you’ve been charged with a hit-and-run, then call Los Angeles hit and run attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez to discuss your case. Ambrosio is a former prosecutor with over 18 years experience. He uses his experience as a district attorney to help his clients achieve the best possible outcome. Even a seemingly minor hit and run can have potentially serious consequences. Contact our Los Angeles office today to learn about how he can help you get the charges reduced or dismissed.
- 1 Hit and Run Overview
- 2 Hit and Run Laws
- 3 Hit and Run Penalties
- 4 Civil Compromise to Avoid Criminal Penalties After a Los Angeles Hit and Run Accident
- 5 Defending Hit and Run Charges in Los Angeles
- 6 Los Angeles Hit and Run Attorney
Hit and Run Overview
If you are involved in a Los Angeles car accident and leave the scene without stopping you can face charges for a hit and run. A hit and run can be a misdemeanor or a felony in California.
The biggest factor in determining what type of charges you may face will be if anyone was injured in the accident. If you have been arrested for a hit and run in Los Angeles you can face serious consequences, including jail time and steep fines.
Hit and Run Laws
Misdemeanor Hit and Run
If you are involved in an accident and leave the scene without exchanging information with other drivers, you could face criminal charges for a hit and run.
California Vehicle Code Section 20002 VC imposes certain responsibilities on drivers who are involved in an accident that causes any property damage. The law requires that “the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident…shall immediately stop the vehicle” and proceed to do either of the following things.
- Exchange personal information (name, address, driver’s license, vehicle registration) with others involved in the accident; or
- Leave a note containing personal information in a conspicuous place for the owner of any property that is damaged because of the accident.
It is important to note that you can be arrested for a hit and run even if you were not responsible for the accident. The law requires that any driver who is involved in an accident that causes damage to stop and exchange information with other parties.
If you are involved in an accident that causes any kind of damage you must stop your vehicle and exchange identifying information with others who were involved. You must stop and exchange personal information when:
- You are struck by another vehicle, even if the other driver is at-fault;
- You are involved in a collision with a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist;
- You lose control of your car and strike a parked car;
- The wind blows your car door into the motorcycle parked next to you in the parking lot, knocking it over.
The extent of the damage caused in the accident is irrelevant. Any accident that causes any amount of damage requires that you exchange or leave identifying information.
Felony Hit and Run
A hit and run is a misdemeanor unless the accident causes some type of bodily injury. If you leave the scene of an accident knowing that an injury likely occurred you can be arrested for felony hit and run. California Vehicle Code Section 20001 VC imposes certain legal requirements on drivers who are involved in injury-causing accidents. Failure to take all of the following steps after a Los Angeles accident can result in felony hit and run charges.
- Immediately stop your vehicle in a safe location;
- Provide the names and addresses of everyone in your car to the person who was injured;
- Provide your vehicle registration information to the person who was injured;
- Provide all relevant information to traffic or police officers at the scene; and
- Provide any reasonable assistance to get injured parties to a doctor or hospital.
Failure to do all of these things can lead to an arrest for a hit and run.
Hit and Run Penalties
If you are convicted of a hit and run in Los Angeles you can face serious criminal consequences. This is true even if the damage caused by the accident was minor.
The type of hit and run charge you will face will depend on whether or not the accident caused any bodily injuries. You can be arrested for misdemeanor hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident that causes property damage. You can be arrested for felony hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident that causes a personal injury.
Hit and Run Causing Property Damage
Fleeing the scene of an accident that only causes property damage is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor hit and run is punishable by up to:
- Six months in a Los Angeles County jail;
- $1,000 fine;
- Three years of informal/summary probation; and/or
- Assignment of two points to your California driver’s license.
Hit and Run Causing Minor Personal Injury
The penalties for a felony hit and run will depend on the extent of the injuries that were caused by the accident. For most injuries, a felony hit and run carries a penalty of up to:
- One year in a California state prison; and/or
- $10,000 fine.
Hit and Run Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death
If a felony hit and run results in the serious bodily injury or death of another person, it will be charged as a felony. Here, a felony hit and run carries a penalty of:
- A minimum of 90 days in a Los Angeles County jail;
- A maximum of four years in a California state prison; and/or
- $10,000 fine.
Civil Compromise to Avoid Criminal Penalties After a Los Angeles Hit and Run Accident
In some cases, misdemeanor hit and run charges can be dismissed if you agree to take full responsibility for the cost of the accident. If the requirements of a civil compromise, as presented in California Penal Code 1378 PC, are met, the court has the discretion to dismiss any charges against you. A successful civil compromise requires that you fully compensate the accident victim for his/her damage.
Once those costs have been paid in full, the injured party can appear before a judge, explain that you have paid for all related expenses, and ask that the charges against you be dismissed. The court then has the discretion to stop the criminal proceedings against you. A civil compromise can be a great way to avoid criminal consequences for leaving the scene of a Los Angeles car accident. Contact Los Angeles hit and run attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez today for more information about achieving a civil compromise in your case.
Defending Hit and Run Charges in Los Angeles
Just because you are arrested for a hit and run in Los Angeles does not automatically mean that you will be convicted of a crime. The prosecutor handling your case will be required to prove each element of the hit and run crime that you are accused of committing. Generally, the prosecution will have to establish:
- You were involved in an accident that resulted in property damage or personal injury to another person; and
- You left the scene of the accident with knowledge that damage or injury had occurred.
You can limit the prosecution’s ability to make their case by arguing certain defenses. Defenses to hit and run charges in Los Angeles include:
- Lack of property damage or injury;
- Lack of required knowledge; and
- You were falsely accused of being involved in a hit and run accident.
Los Angeles Hit and Run Attorney
Have you been arrested for a hit and run in Los Angeles? If so, it is important to contact an experienced Los Angeles hit and run attorney as soon as you can. The consequences of a hit and run can be serious and even include time in jail. Hiring an attorney to defend you will increase your chances of achieving a positive outcome in your case.
Contact the Law Office of Ambrosio E. Rodriguez today to schedule a free consultation. When you meet, Mr. Rodriguez will review the facts of your case, determine which defenses may be most appropriate, and answer the many questions you likely have.