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According to California law, there are two variations of hit and run crimes, which include:
Vehicle Code 20001, which involves automobile accidents that result in injury or death.
Vehicle Code 20002, which involve accidents that result in the damage of property.
In California, hit and run accidents can be misdemeanors or felonies. The difference between a misdemeanor and felony hit and run charge is that misdemeanor charges are the result of property damage. If a hit and run accident results in injury or death, then it is a felony charge.
In California, an individual could face a misdemeanor hit and run charge as the result of an automobile accident. These laws apply to all car accidents no matter who was at fault, the damage that occurred, or if there were any injuries. An individual could be charged with a misdemeanor hit and run under the following circumstances:
An individual leaves the scene of an accident after a fender-bender when the other driver was at fault.
An individual leaves the scene of an accident after hitting another individuals property.
An individual leaves the scene of an accident that was caused by his or her driving although the individual’s car was not physically involved in a collision.
An individual could also face a felony hit and run if the only individual injured in the accident was the passenger of the vehicle. Under Vehicle Code 20001, an individual can be charged with a hit and run if the only person injured was the passenger of the automobile if the driver leaves the scene of the accident.
If an individual is charged with a hit and run in California, then the penalties are dependent on if the charge is a misdemeanor or felony. If an individual is charged with a misdemeanor hit and run, then he or she could face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If an individual is charged with a felony hit and run, he or she could face two to four years in a state prison and/or a $1,000 to $10,000 fine.
Hit and Run Defense
For individuals who have been accused of a hit and run, it is crucial to seek legal counsel. The penalties for hit and run convictions in California are serious, and an experienced legal team can help defendants prepare to fight the charge. Here are some ways experienced attorneys can fight a hit and run charge:
The only individual who can be charged with a hit and run is the driver. If another person was driving the defendant’s vehicle at the time of the accident, then an attorney can build a solid defense against a hit and run charge.
Another way to fight a hit and run charge is to prove an individual has no knowledge of
damage or injury. In most cases, an individual needs to be aware damage or injury was caused due to a collision. When an individual is unaware of damage or injury and leaves the scene of an accident, it can be hard to find him or her liable.
Involuntary intoxication is another way to establish a defense against a hit and run charge. Voluntary intoxication is when an individual is aware he or she is intoxicated, but involuntary intoxication is when an individual is not aware he or she has been intoxicated. An example would be if an individual was given the wrong medication, which resulted in impaired judgement.
Legal firms that have experience with hit and run accidents can provide defendants with the knowledge and experience to build a strong case.