What do you do when your teenaged driver comes home fraught with worry and tells you they hit something with the car, or worse yet, someone? They then spill the beans that they left the scene without notifying the property owner. What do you tell a juvenile hit and run wrongdoer? Do you tell them they just committed a criminal act?
The time to do that was when they got their driver’s license. That conversation with a newly licensed driver is arguably as crucial as the sex talk you’ve been avoiding. It is up to you to let them know if there is an accident with damage or injuries, they must stop and give aid and information.
However, most do not equate that to traffic accidents or traffic incidents. Something you never see on TV is a law enforcement officer (LEO) giving someone their Miranda rights because they hit a mailbox or a parked car. They may have a minor accident and see no one around to report the damage to and leave.
Maybe you’re one of those who would advise their child to forget about it; chances are nothing will come of it. We hope not. Your teen’s reputation, future, and college applications depend on you getting them the advice of a traffic attorney right away.
There are two types of hit and run: a misdemeanor hit and run with property damage only, and a felony hit and run where there were injuries or death.
A Felony Juvenile Hit and Run
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 20001, Accidents and Accident Reports state it is a felony when there are injuries involved, and the driver left the scene of the accident without leaving the required information. The driver is guilty of a felony hit and run regardless of whether they knew of the injuries or how slight the injury was.
The required information is:
- Current address
- Name & current address of all occupants
- Show license, registration number, and owner’s name and address if different than the driver.
The driver is also required to provide any “reasonable assistance.” The driver must drive anyone injured to a medical clinic or hospital if requested.
Moving the vehicle or vehicles to a safe location will not affect the at-fault investigation. Continuing to drive to a nearby, safe location such as a parking lot is also allowed by law.
Those convicted in a felony hit and run get fined between $1,000 and $10,000. They could also serve 90 days up to one year in the county jail or both. However, when there is grave, permanent injury, or death, the convicted could face from two to four years. These are base fines, and after state and county surcharges are added, it will substantially increase the total fine.
However, juvenile hit and runs get tried in juvenile court, and the fines and penalties are dependent on the judge.
A Misdemeanor Juvenile Hit and Run
CVC 20002, Accidents and Accident Reports covers the fundamentals of a misdemeanor hit and run, which is when there is property damage only, and the driver fails to stop and report the accident. When there is no one around, a driver is still required to leave the information listed above. Also, a statement of the circumstances in a prominent location, such as on the windshield or in the mailbox. You are then required to notify the local police as soon as possible, but not more than 24 hours.
It might seem as if hitting someone’s fence isn’t a big deal if you only knocked off some paint, but if you just drive away, you are committing a crime. The penalties for a misdemeanor hit and run are not more than a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. However, once again, a juvenile hit and run sentence could be different depending on the judge.
Some will even look at it as since they are a juvenile, they will not go to jail. Their record will be expunged or cleared when they reach 18, but much responsibility weighs on the juvenile and the parents or legal guardians doing the right thing, consulting a lawyer, and turning themselves in — the sooner, the better.
Although the record may be wiped out at 18, the teen driver will still have to deal with the consequences. The best option is to hire a knowledgeable traffic attorney who could possibly get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Consult a Traffic Ticket Attorney Who Handles Juvenile Hit and Run
Call Bigger & Harman when you need dependable legal advice about traffic tickets and criminal charges stemming from traffic incidents, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
California law requires the juvenile to appear in court for traffic violations, and we will be right there with you. We handle only traffic law and use a flat fee. You will always know how much your defense will cost. Give us a call or send an email email@example.com.