Defining The Term Hit-and-Run For Our Purposes
Hit-and-run is considered a crime in California. It is the act of causing a traffic accident but failing to stop and exchange information regarding one’s identify. The legal consequences of a hit-and-run vary from one state to another. In California, the law authorizes the sentencing of the hit-and-run pursuant. There are two sections of the law that pertain to this. The first is Vehicle Code Section 20001 (CVC 20001) which stipulates penalty for when the act causes injury or death. The second is CVC 20002 which prescribes punishment causing property damage only. However, depending on its seriousness, a hit-and-run pursuant may be charged with either a misdemeanor (which is a minor wrongdoing) or a felony. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will also punish a hit-and-run pursuant in its own way. The department will add 2 points for the conviction to the wrongdoer record. If 4 points were reached in 12 months, the license will be suspended for at least 6 months. In addition, the wrongdoer insurance premiums will either increase significantly or coverage gets cancelled all together.
Possible Felony Consequences for Hitting and Running in California
When an injury arises as a result of a hit-and-run to someone other than the wrongdoer, it is called wobbler. Under CVC 2002 (b) (1), if a wobbler was committed, the wrongdoer may face either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime itself. If he/she was charged with the former, you are likely to face imprisonment for a year, or a fine between $1000 and $10,000 or both. But if they were charged with a felony, their punishment will be up to 3 years in jail, or a fine of the same price range or both. It's not okay to leave the scene of an accident you are involved in without first giving the other party your identity. It is more than a simple infraction.
Property damage caused as a result of a hit-and-run is considered a misdemeanor. If property damage was the only consequence of the accident, then according to CVC 20002, the person is likely to face up to 6 months in jail, a fine of not more than $1000 or both.
Scenarios Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death
Although this type may also be perceived and charged as a wobbler, given its seriousness, the punishment and penalties are more severe. CVC 20002 (b) (2), if convicted of a misdemeanor, the wrongdoer will face a minimum of 90 days to a year of imprisonment, a fine of $1000 to $10,000 or both. Although the 90 days of imprisonment are mandatory,the court may reduce or eliminate it.
But if convicted with felony under the same code, 2-3 years in prison, a fine of the same amount or both.
If manslaughter was committed as a result of the hit-and-run, the person will face the standard punishment with an additional consecutive term of 5 years in prison.
How to Proceed if You are the Victim of Hit-and-Run
If your vehicle or person is hit and the person refuses to give up their identity or flees the scene, call the police immediately. It is a criminal offense for them to behave this way! Or, if you believe the person is giving you a false identity, call the police. It is usually always smart to request a response from a local officer any time you get hit in your car. This helps lock down the other parties information and story. Oftentimes the wrongdoer will change their story so that their carrier denies liability for the incident. A statement given to the police would be inconsistent with a later statement, impeaching the defendant's credibility. In addition to contacting the authorities, take mental note of the license plate number and make, model and color of the fleeing vehicle. This can be used by the police to ascertain the registered owner and likely track down the vehicle and who was driving it. It is not recommended that the victim take up pursuit on their own.
In all circumstances, contact a reputable attorney office for advice and representation to investigate your options
Hit-and-Run Lawyer Group Helping People Ascertain Their Options
If you are the victim of a hit and run accident injury or death and the person can never be identified, you will be entitled to collect under your own uninsured/underinsured protection policy. Such policies are not very expensive and should always be purchased along with liability insurance. Eventually, the person may be identified and insurance found. In that cause, a lawsuit and insurance claim may be filed against the wrongdoer by the vehicle owner, or any injured party. If the accident resulted in a death, the decedent’s close relatives can sue for the wrongful death of their family member.