Don’t Let This Be Your Story
Although accidents happen, leaving the scene of an accident without notifying the property owner of the accident and trading contact information is a hit & run. Even when you cannot find the owner, you must leave a note with all the information legally needed.
How the Hit & Run Occurred
You’re playing video games with some friends, and you run out of snacks, so you decide to run out to the convenience store and get some more. As you’re backing out of the convenience store parking lot, you hit another car. There’s only superficial damage, and there’s no one around, so you decide to go home.
Regardless of how minor the damage is, leaving without notifying the owner or the police is a crime. It’s not a crime until you don’t report it.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 20002, Accidents and Accident Reports prescribes, “The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.”
This CA code gives the driver several options to notify the owner or authorities, such as:
- The driver is charged to locate and notify the owner of the damaged property. If the owner cannot be found, leave a note with the “…name and address of the driver and owner…”
- Notify the local police department or the CHP without delay.
- The same is true of a driver who parks a car that becomes a runaway and damages property.
If the driver does not comply with these directives, they could be guilty of a misdemeanor hit & run, which carries a penalty of a fine of not more than $1,000, county jail time up to six months, or both.
Likewise, CVC 20001, also titled, Accidents and Accident Reports deals with hit & runs with bodily injury or death “other than himself or herself,” regardless of how significant the injury was. A hit & run with injuries or death is a felony violation of CA traffic law.
If convicted, the driver could face a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, up to one-year imprisonment, or both. When the accident “results in death or permanent, serious injury,” the driver could face “state prison for two, three, or four years” or both fine and imprisonment.
Call the Traffic Criminal Defense Team of Bigger & Harman, APC
When charged in Kern County with a hit & run offense, it is a criminal offense, and you have all the Constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as the “right to remain silent” and “to have an attorney present during questioning.” Exercise those rights and call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300.
We are traffic attorneys with more than a decade of traffic and criminal defense experience. Do not speak to anyone about the incident until you have talked to one of us.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdfCVC Sections 20001 & 20002, Accidents and Accident Reports