A hit and run charge is one of the most severe traffic accidents for both
the victim and the defendant. Often a driver makes a rash decision to
flee and only complicates their situation. The CA Vehicle Code (CVC) prescribes
two types of hit and run violations; one is a misdemeanor, and the other
is a felony. Both are serious offenses that will stay on your motor vehicle
driving record (MVR) for up to ten years and on your criminal record for
life. When charged with either of these offenses, you need to consult
with a traffic defense attorney before discussing the case with anyone.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run
What you thought was an insignificant bump in the parking lot without much
damage, can turn into what law enforcement officers consider a misdemeanor
offense if you did not leave your contact information and report it. CVC
Accidents and Accident Reports instructs that a vehicle operator involved in a traffic accident that
results in property damage, must stop as soon as safely possible. The
Code continues with, “Moving the vehicle in accordance with this
subdivision does not affect the question of fault.”
When the property owner is not around and not immediately found, the driver
may leave contact information that includes, the driver’s address
and name, who owns the vehicle, and a short recap of how the event occurred.
The vehicle operator must notify local law enforcement as soon as possible
after the accident, or CHP when there are no local police. If the mishap
was with another vehicle where the driver is present, they must exchange
information. Driver’s license and registration is the minimum required
by the CVC.
Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hit and run is subject to a $1000 fine
and up to six months in the county jail or both. And, they will be assigned
two negligent operator treatment system points.
Felony Hit and Run
Accidents and Accident Reports states it is a felony to leave the scene of an accident involving an injury
or death no matter how slight the injury or whether the driver knew of
an injury or not. Section
20003 of the CVC prescribes what information an involved driver must provide
to the driver of the other vehicle or person struck, as well as LEOs at
the scene. The minimum required is the current address, name, and the
address and full name of anyone in their vehicle who was injured, plus
driver’s license or ID if available. This section also requires
the individual driver and/or uninjured occupants to reasonably assist
the injured and/or provide transport to receive medical care.
Those convicted of a felony hit and run could receive a fine between $1,000
and $10,000 and imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Except
when “death or permanent, serious injury” occurs, in this
case, those convicted could receive two to four years imprisonment.
With either a misdemeanor or felony conviction, the judge has the discretion
to consider the financial status of the defendant and the seriousness
of the offense in sentencing. In addition to those punishments decided
in a criminal trial, the defendant could face financial restitution in
a civil suit.
A civil compromise can be used as a negotiation mostly in cases when there
were damages only but might offer an argument when there were only minor
injuries. The premise of this defense is the victim agrees they received
adequate compensation, and they do not want the defendant prosecuted.
When the victim agrees, or there is evidence the victim received full
compensation but will not agree to negotiate, the attorney might be able
to convince the DA and/or judge to dismiss the charge.
Whatever the circumstances of your situation, you should consult with an
attorney before making any statement to law enforcement.
Consult a Local Traffic Attorney in Bakersfield
When accused of a hit and run accident, call Bigger & Harman immediately,
(661) 349-9300, before speaking to anyone about the incident. Or send
firstname.lastname@example.org with as much detail as possible, and they will set up an appointment and
You can also send a private message on the Bigger & Harman
Facebook page. If you’re already a client, leave a review and tell your family
If you’re not yet a client, read reviews left by others on
Yelp to help you decide. Avvo and
Nolo.com are famous legal advocate websites which provide an assessment for many
legal professionals. Bigger & Harman, APC has a 4.7 out of a possible
5-star rating on Nolo.
Se habla Español 661.349.9755.
Accidents and Accident Reports