HIT AND RUN

hit and run

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WHAT IS HIT AND RUN?

California Hit and Run laws mandates all drivers to stop immediately after an accident.  Even if you are not at fault for the accident, you are required to stop your vehicle immediately after the collision.  Also, after the collision, the drivers involved in the collision are required to exchange information regardless of their fault.

HIT AND RUN can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor in California.  Usually, the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor criminal case filing is determined by the type of damage caused in the course of a collision.  For example, a collision that results in an injury to a person can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code section 20001.  The more sever the injury, the more likely the prosecution will file felony charges.  In contrast, a collision that resulted only in property damage will likely be prosecuted as a misdemeanor under California Vehicle Code section 20002.

ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE

In California, to prove a criminal offense, a prosecutor must prove every element of that offense.   In California, the elements of hit and run are:

  1. you were driving and involved in an accident
  2. accident caused damage
  3. you new of the damage or the accident was of the kind that damage must exist
  4. you willfully did not stop and exchange information

PUNISHMENT FOR HIT AND RUN CONVICTIONS

Felony hit and run can carry a state prison sentence with a range from 16 month for low term, 2 years for the midterm and 3 years for the upper terms.  Additionally, depending on the type of injury, a felony prosecution for a hit and run can have an upper term of 4 years in the state prison.

Over the years our skilled Los Angeles attorney has handled numerous hit and run cases with results ranging from complete dismissals of all charged to other favorable settlements in Los Angeles Superior Court.  Our skills allow us to mount number of successful defenses for drivers accused of Los Angeles hit and runs.

For example, not knowing that one is involved in an accident is a defense to a hit and run charge.

Secondly, when the only damage from the accident is to your car, a hit and run should not be prosecuted.

Thirdly, many cases in Los Angeles commence with the police agency tracing the car involved in the hit and run to the registered owner using the DMV records or witness statements.

These prosecution will often result in a wrong person being accused of the crime.  The driver of a vehicle can often be innocent of the crime and mount a successful defense in such prosecution.  Lastly, even when you are charged with what appears to a strong hit and run case, experienced hit and run attorneys in our office can often receive a favorable resolution by litigating constitutional rights or by litigating a motions for a civil compromise under California Vehicle code 1377-1379.

DMV CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION FOR

In addition to possible criminal punishment discussed above, a hit and run conviction may also for cause the DMV to suspend driver’s license.

Whether or not the DMV will suspend license  will greatly depend on whether the hit and run involved an injury to any person.  In the event, there was no injury (which is commonly would be charged as a violation of Vehicle Code Section 20002),  the suspension is not mandatory.  Once the conviction shows up at the DMV, the DMV can, but is not required to suspend driver’s license.  The relevant law is found in California Vehicle Code Section 13361, which states:

“The department may suspend the privilege of any person to operate a motor vehicle upon receipt of a duly certified abstract of the record of any court showing that the person has been convicted of any of the following crimes or offenses: (a) failure to stop in the event of an accident resulting in damage to property only, or otherwise failing to comply with requirement of Section 20002″.   

If instead, there was an injury and the People of the State of California charged Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a more serious code section that can be charged as a felony),  the DMV is required to revoke driver’s license as explained in California Vehicle Code Section 13350(a)(1).

(a) The department immediately shall revoke the privilege of a person to drive a motor vehicle upon receipt of a duly certified abstract of the record of a court showing that the person has been convicted of any of the following crimes or offenses: (1) Failure of the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to a person to stop or otherwise comply with Section 20001″.,    

The length of revocation is for one year and requires the driver to provide proof of financial responsibility.

Lastly, pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 13351(a)(2), the DMV must also revoke for three years a driver’s license when a person suffers any combination three or more convictions of California Vehicle Code Sections: 20001, 20002, 23103 or 23104 within a 12-month period.

HOW CAN LOS ANGELES DUI ATTORNEY HELP YOU?

Los Angeles Hit and Run Attorneys can help protect you from consequences of a hit and run conviction which, even on a misdemeanor, can carry up to six months in the county jail and fines of up to $1,000.00.

Typically, hit and run offense investigation in Los Angeles can be resolved even without going to court (if done early enough), but you do need a competent criminal defense attorney to contact the police.  You should not attempt to resolve the case yourself because anything you say to police is admissible in court (unlike what attorneys say to police).  Call us now and we will help you.

 

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