In California, there are two types of offenses on can receive from a hit and run offense. One can receive a misdemeanor or a felony.
For one to receive a hit & run under Vehicle Code 20002 VC the person involved:
- Leaves the scene of the incident without first identifying themselves to those involved
- Damages another person’s property
A misdemeanor hit and run is more concerned of property damage while a felony hit and run is concerned with injury. A misdemeanor hit and run usually faces a fine up to $1,000 or a sentence of 6 months or more in county jail. Also the California DMV will add two points on your driving record.
The California hit and run law applies to every car accident regardless of whose fault it was, the amount of damage inflicted and the seriousness of the injury.
One can fight such charges if:
- Only your car was damaged
- You didn’t realize that you had been involved in an accident or even that someone’s property was damaged (does not matter what the property is it can be a vehicle, fence or mailbox)
- It was someone else (not you) who was involved in the accident
For a prosecutor to prove that you were involved in a hit a run they must show:
- You were involved in a vehicle accident while driving
- The accident caused damage to someone else’s property
- That you knew someone else’s property had been damaged or the accident was of such a nature that it was probable that another’s property was damaged
- You willfully failed to perform any of your duties
It is important to know your duties as a driver once you become involved in a car accident:
- You must immediately stop your vehicle
- You must give the other party your “identifying information” which includes your name and current address
- You must also be sure to provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration upon request
I have included below the laws of a Hit and Run in California:
(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to any person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of any person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.
(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), any person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, any person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.
(3) In imposing the minimum fine required by this subdivision, the court shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required by this subdivision.
(c) A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation of Section 191.5 of, paragraph (1) or (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of, or subdivision (a) or (c) of Section 192.5 of, the Penal Code, upon conviction of any of those sections, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the state prison. This additional term shall not be imposed unless the allegation is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted by the defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. The court shall not strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) As used in this section, “permanent, serious injury” means the loss or permanent impairment of function of any bodily member or organ.
(a) 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. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:
(1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information, if available or other valid identification to the other involved parties.
(2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.
(c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
PENAL CODE SECTION 799-805
799. Prosecution for an offense punishable by death or by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for life without the possibility of parole, or for the embezzlement of public money, may be commenced at any time. This section shall apply in any case in which the defendant was a minor at the time of the commission of the offense and the prosecuting attorney could have petitioned the court for a fitness hearing pursuant to Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
800. Except as provided in Section 799, prosecution for an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for eight years or more shall be commenced within six years after commission of the offense.
801. Except as provided in Sections 799 and 800, prosecution for an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense.
804. For the purpose of this chapter, prosecution for an offense is commenced when any of the following occurs:
(a) An indictment or information is filed.
(b) A complaint is filed charging a misdemeanor or infraction.
(c) A case is certified to the superior court.
(d) An arrest warrant or bench warrant is issued, provided the warrant names or describes the defendant with the same degree of particularity required for an indictment, information, or complaint.
805. For the purpose of determining the applicable limitation of time pursuant to this chapter:
(a) An offense is deemed punishable by the maximum punishment prescribed by statute for the offense, regardless of the punishment actually sought or imposed. Any enhancement of punishment prescribed by statute shall be disregarded in determining the maximum punishment prescribed by statute for an offense.
(b) The limitation of time applicable to an offense that is necessarily included within a greater offense is the limitation of time applicable to the lesser included offense, regardless of the limitation of time applicable to the greater offense.
If you have any questions feel free to get in contact me.