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undefinedThe penalties for hit-and-run convictions vary depending on the nature of the incident, with property damage cases considered misdemeanors and accidents involving injuries or death classified as felonies. The primary difference is how much jail time a judge can order for a misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run conviction.

In this blog post, we will delve into the penalties associated with hit-and-run convictions in Kern County, CA. We will provide insights on how to avoid misdemeanor and felony charges. We will also emphasize the importance of exercising your rights and seeking legal representation when facing hit-and-run allegations.

“A misdemeanor is typically a crime punishable by less than 12 months in jail. Community service, probation, fines, and imprisonment for less than a year are commonly issued punishments for misdemeanors. More grievous crimes, felonies, carry stiffer penalties, including jail time of more than 12 months.” — Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII).

How to Avoid a Misdemeanor Hit & Run Conviction

A hit-and-run accident involving only property damage is considered a misdemeanor offense in California. It is essential to take the following steps to avoid a misdemeanor hit-and-run conviction:

  1. Stop and Exchange Information: California law mandates that you stop at the scene and exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved if you are involved in an accident resulting in property damage only.
  2. Notify Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the local law enforcement agency or DMV as soon as possible. Promptly informing them about the incident shows your willingness to cooperate and helps establish a record of your responsible actions.
  3. Contact Your Insurance Provider: Notify your insurance provider about the accident, providing them with accurate and truthful information regarding the incident.

A felony hit-and-run conviction carries severe penalties, including substantial fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and potential imprisonment in state prison for up to four years.

Avoiding a Felony Hit & Run Conviction

A hit-and-run accident involving injuries or death is classified as a felony offense in California. To avoid a felony hit-and-run conviction, you should:

  1. Stop and Render Aid: In accidents involving injuries or fatalities, you must stop immediately (when safe to do so) and provide reasonable assistance to the injured parties. This may include calling for emergency medical services or providing aid within your capabilities. It is lawful to leave the scene to transport an injured person to get medical care.
  2. Cooperate with Law Enforcement: Remain at the scene and fully cooperate with law enforcement officers investigating the incident. Provide them with accurate and honest information. 
  3. Notify Your Insurance Provider: Contact your insurance company and inform them about the accident involving injuries or death. They can guide you through the claims process and help you understand your coverage.

A felony hit-and-run conviction carries severe penalties, including substantial fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or more, along with potential imprisonment in state prison for up to four years.

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent, Consult with an Attorney, & Have an Attorney Present with You During Questioning

If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and are questioned by law enforcement, it is crucial to exercise your rights. Remember:

  1. Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. It is advisable to consult an attorney before providing any statements to law enforcement.
  2. Consult with an Attorney: Reach out to a skilled traffic attorney experienced in hit-and-run cases. They will provide personalized legal advice and guidance tailored to your situation.
  3. Have an Attorney Present During Questioning: Having an attorney present during questioning by law enforcement ensures that your rights are protected, and any potential pitfalls are avoided. An attorney with both traffic and criminal courtroom/negotiation experience can provide comprehensive representation throughout the legal process.

Facing hit-and-run allegations in Kern County, California, can have serious legal consequences. Whether it is a misdemeanor or felony offense, it is crucial to understand the penalties associated with hit-and-run convictions and take appropriate action to protect your rights and mitigate the potential consequences. 

It is crucial to comply with the legal requirements of stopping at the scene, exchanging information, and reporting the accident to avoid a misdemeanor hit-and-run conviction. In the case of a felony hit-and-run, stopping immediately, rendering aid, and cooperating with law enforcement, even if you don’t answer questions, will prevent a hit and run.

They have the expertise to navigate the complexities of hit-and-run cases, build a strong defense, and negotiate on your behalf.

A skilled traffic attorney will protect your rights, assess the evidence, challenge the prosecution's case, and work towards achieving the best possible outcome. They will strive to mitigate fines, reduce jail time, or explore alternative sentencing options. With their guidance, you can navigate the legal process confidently and safeguard your rights and interests.

If you are facing hit-and-run allegations in Kern County, California, do not delay seeking the assistance of a reputable traffic attorney. They will provide legal advice, representation, and advocacy to protect your rights, minimize potential penalties, and help you navigate this challenging situation.

Remember, when it comes to hit-and-run charges, having a skilled traffic attorney by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. 

Consult with Bigger & Harman, APC, to Avoid Hit & Run Convictions in Kern County, CA 

Call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300. Or, use the handy online contact form or email

Act promptly, give us a call, and secure the professional representation you need to face the legal challenges ahead.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

CA Vehicle Code Sections 20002 & 20001Public Offenses.

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