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Hit and Run Laws in California

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When involved in a hit and run incident, many people will initially panic. In these cases, they are more likely to drive away to avoid any kind of trouble. This is what is classified as a hit and run. Hit and runs are serious crimes. 

What is a Hit and Run?

If you are charged with a hit and run, it’s important for you to understand how a hit and run is defined in the state of California. On a basic level, a hit and run is any incident where someone leaves the scene of the accident without making contact with the other individuals involved. This also extends to leaving the scene of the accident without notifying someone who was not present that their property was damaged. In order for it to be classified as a hit and run, there must be some sort of damage. This can be to the other individuals’ vehicles or any other kind of property. If only property is damaged, then it counts as a misdemeanor. If someone is injured or even killed, you can be charged with a felony. 

Consequences of a Hit and Run

Being charged with a hit and run can leave you with several consequences depending on the severity of the incident. At a misdemeanor level, you will likely be given a fine up to $1,000. You may also face up to six months in jail. It is also possible that you will need to pay for any damages that you have caused to other people’s property. Injuries and medical bills may also be covered. With a misdemeanor charge, you also risk receiving two points on your driver’s license and you can also be placed on probation. For a felony, you could pay fines up to $10,000 and you may be in jail 1-3 years. On top of this, you may also need to pay restitutions to the other parties.  


After being charged, you will need to build your case. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this process. There are several defenses that you may use. One defense is if you did not know that an accident occurred. This is typically in cases where the damage is so minor, it is not immediately noticed. Other defenses include there being no damage at all or if the damage was only done to your vehicle.  Being charged with a hit and run can be a complex situation as there are many factors involved. Understanding the law surrounding hit and runs can help to better your situation as you build your case.  Contact a criminal defense attorney to help you. 

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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