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Dealing with Being a Suspect in a Hit and Run

A lot of attention is given the victims of a hit and run, and rightfully so, for instance, the 70-year-old lady that was recently struck in the pedestrian crosswalk by what turned out to be a drunk driver. Luckily, several witnesses chased down the vehicle and could detain the driver until law enforcement (LE) officers arrived, but what of the person that was driving?

In this incident the driver was caught right away, but what about the driver who evades arrest for weeks or months? Although we should not sympathize with lawbreakers and encourage this type of lawlessness, it must be nerve-wracking to always watch over your shoulder, wondering when the shoe will drop and you will be arrested. And now, with CCTV everywhere and literally tens of thousands of LE officers in CA, the percentage of drivers that evade arrest are dwindling.

With the passage and implementation of AB 516, the use of mandatory temporary license plates by dealers when they sell new and used cars will further bolster those odds in the LE’s favor. Before this legislation, recently purchased vehicles only had the dealer’s advertisement plate and a small windshield sticker on them when they drove off the lot. The new owner was supposed to change to the permanent plates upon arrival.

Two million newly purchased vehicles per year hit the streets with no numbered plates and no way to track the owner for at least three weeks and some never put on the permanent plates, knowing they could avoid being identified by toll booths and red-light cameras. These new plates will have a number that corresponds to the vehicle and driver information given the DMV.

CA Vehicle Code Pertaining to Hit and Run

According to CVC 20001, when you are involved in an accident where there are injuries, you must stop and render aid, at least stop and call 911 and make your report to authorities. If you do not stop, it is a felony and if convicted of a felony hit and run you can be imprisoned for a first offense up to a minimum of one year and fined $10,000 or both.

Additionally, CVC 20002, is a misdemeanor hit and run when there are damages and you do not notify the owner of those damages and provide the required information, such as name, driver’s license number, address, and insurance company information. In addition, if you are not the vehicle owner, you must provide the same information pertaining to the owner. When you are involved in an accident where there are damages only, such as when you are pulling out of a parking space and hit another car or fence, you attempt to notify the owner. If there is no one around the parked vehicle, you can leave a note with the information on the windshield and notify the police in that municipality. In this case, if you leave the scene without providing information, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor hit and run, if convicted, you could be fined up to $1000, prior to the addition of state and county fees, surcharges, and assessments, plus imprisonment for up to 180 days.

What You Should Do

If you were involved in a hit and run accident, regardless of known damages or injuries, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor or felony. The best thing you can do is call Bigger & Harman, immediately at 661-349-9300 for a free consultation about your circumstances. There are ways to approach a hit and run that are not obvious to the public, such as a Civil Compromise, which is a legal method to get the victim to agree that prosecution is not necessary because they have been fully compensated for the damages or injuries.

However, do not call the victim yourself and try to reach a compromise, which could be witness tampering. Your best option is to hire a traffic ticket attorney to handle your case and talk to the victim.

Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Central Valley

In Central Valley, you have access to one the state’s most experienced traffic court law firms, Bigger & Harman, who represent their clients in traffic court on a near daily basis. Therefore, they know the CVC and the quirks and distinctions of traffic law.

For more than a decade, Bigger & Harman represent their clients here in Central Valley courts in Kern, Kings, Fresno, Mono, and others, and some SoCal counties, LA, SLO, Riverside and San Bernardino. These professionals have assisted 2000 or more drivers with dismissals, reduced charges, and probation rather than suspension or imprisonment. Although probation does not seem to be an ideal outcome, it is a good alternative to not having a license or spending time in jail after facing a felony or misdemeanor hit and run. Bigger & Harman can be depending to give their all to defend you in traffic court when you are charged with hit and run or another major traffic violation.

Email: attorney@markbigger.com

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.