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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 information 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.

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