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What Can be Done About a Hit and Run?

The Hit and Run that Prompted Change

There is perhaps no more devastating traffic violation, for both sides, than the hit and run. In fact, it was the hit and run killing in August of 2013 on Ventura Boulevard that changed how the state will conduct the business of registering and plating cars sold. Well, to be more precise, it was the people’s reaction to what happened that prompted state legislators to act.

Within days of the hit and run petitions to change the system started circulating on the internet and on the streets of Los Angeles, which eventually led to Assembly Bill 516 (AB 516) that mandates all new and used vehicles sold in CA to have a temporary license plate emplaced by the dealer that matches the number and information on the buyer given to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The hit and run accident was witnessed by seven people, who saw the new white Mercedes strike the victim and drag him for about 100 feet down Ventura Boulevard. However, since the vehicle had only a paper dealer’s advertisement where a temporary license plate should have been, the police were unable to track the vehicle’s owner and/or the driver. To this day, the killer remains at large. And though, this action will not bring the victim back, it will make it easier to track guilty parties and bring them to justice.

AB 516 was signed into law on 25 July 2016.

Hit and Run Consequences

For those of you unfamiliar with the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) that covers hit and run, there are two types of violations.

The first is CVC 20002 (a), which makes it a misdemeanor crime to leave the scene of an accident where there was property damage but no injury without providing the other driver or property owner involved the required information, such as name, address, and driver’s license, plus the same information on the owner of the vehicle if it is different than the driver.

When the property or vehicle owner cannot be located within a reasonable amount of time, the driver will leave the information in a conspicuous place, such as the windshield of the vehicle or in a mailbox on the property damaged and notify the police in the municipality where the accident occurred.

There is no dollar value applied to this crime and the amount of damage is not relevant in the prosecution of an offender. Violators of this statute who are convicted are subject to a maximum $1000 fine, before state and county surcharges, fees, and assessments and/or imprisonment up to six months in the county jail. In addition, the driver will likely be ordered to make restitution to the owner of the damaged property.

The second type of hit and run violation is CVC 20001 (a), which makes it a felony to leave the scene of an accident where there was an injury or injuries. In prosecuting this felony charge, it is irrelevant whether the driver was at-fault or if he or she were aware of the injuries. The heinousness of the crime is the fleeing from the scene without any thought of rendering assistance to those injured or calling 911.

A conviction of this felony criminal charge can be punished by not less than one-year in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, plus the court has the latitude to order compensation and restitution.

Civil Compromise

When the victim agrees that they have been adequately compensated for their injuries or damages the District Attorney and the judge have an ability to reduce or dismiss the charges. Whereas it could be considered witness tampering if you contacted the victim, a traffic ticket attorney with courtroom experience would know about this provision in the law and could speak with the victim on our behalf. Therefore, it would be prudent to contact an attorney as soon as possible after being charged.

Hire a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Central Valley

In Central Valley, CA 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 idiosyncrasies of traffic law.

For more than a decade, Bigger & Harman have been representing their clients in Central Valley traffic courts in Kings, Kern, Mono, Fresno, and others, as well as some SoCal counties such as San Bernardino, Riverside, and LA. This team of professional ticket lawyers has assisted more than 2000 drivers with monetary savings due to reduced charges, dismissals, and probation rather than jail. Although probation may not seem like a good thing, when you are facing jail time due to a misdemeanor or felony hit and run, it may be the only reasonable choice you have.

Bigger & Harman are hands down the best possible choice to represent you in traffic court. Call 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.