Effective in the New Year, the California legislature has changed the rules
for some hit-and-run accidents.
Assembly Bill 184, which was passed in October 2013, extends the statute of limitations
to four years for hit-and-run accidents, if the alleged perpetrator is
identified within three years. The law gives investigators more time to
find contact information for a defendant so that a valid warrant may be
issued and served, and a court case commenced. Bicycle advocacy groups
applauded the measure, since hit-and-run is especially common when a motorist
hits an unmanned bicycle.
AB 184 does not apply in fatal hit-and-run accidents, as there is generally
no statute of limitations for crimes that involve a homicide.
Vehicle Code Section 20002 deals with non-injury hit-and-run accidents, the most frequent scenario
being a collision with a parked car or other fixed object. Many times,
drivers may believe that they hit a curb or signpost and may not be aware
that the law applies. Other people do not fully comply with the statute,
which requires that a driver both leave a note with all of the required
and contact the police or other responsible government agency.
Hit and run can have serious consequences in California, including drivers'
license suspension, six months in jail, and a $1,000 fine.
An attorney regularly practicing in Kern County can often represent you
in court without you having to appear, which is especially meaningful
for drivers who may have just been passing through a central California
community and are not able to return for a court date.