Not every hit and run in California involves a high-stakes police chase down a busy interstate. Hit and runs have been glorified in the movies, with the majority of them showcasing an antagonist desperate to escape the scene of the crime at any cost. But in reality, hit and run charges in California involve much more diverse circumstances.
You could be charged with a hit and run in California for not having insurance, if you’re in an emergency, or if you bump into a car in a parking lot and think that no one noticed. You could even be charged with a hit and run for running into landscaping, fences, or stop signs.
If you’ve been charged with a hit and run in California, rest assured that the team at the Law Offices of Bradley Corbett is here for you.
What Defines a Hit and Run in California?
California hit and run laws define a hit and run as any accident where the person leaves the scene without first identifying themselves to all parties involved. There must be damage to someone’s property or an injury or fatality, and the responsible party must have knowledge that they have been involved in an accident that caused damage.
A hit and run can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation. If only physical property was damaged in the accident, it is considered a misdemeanor. But if someone was injured or killed, it is considered a felony.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run in California
There cannot be any injuries or fatalities in order for a hit and run to be classified as a misdemeanor in California. The person must have also caused damage to another person’s property, had knowledge that the damage was done, and failed to do at least one of the following:
- Stop as soon as the accident occurs
- Give out identifying information to all parties involved, such as name and address
- Show their driver’s license
Penalties for a misdemeanor hit and run might include up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A misdemeanor might also include three years of probation, paying restitution for the property damage, and receiving two driving record points.
Felony Hit and Run
A felony hit and run is different from a misdemeanor because it involves injury or death, not just property damage. The prosecution must be able to prove that the driver knew they were in an accident that caused injury or death and then left the scene without giving identifying information.
If a person is charged with a felony hit and run, they may receive a $1,000-$10,000 fine and must pay restitution to the other involved parties. They might also receive jail time of 1-3 years or more.
Hit and Run Defenses
There are several defenses against misdemeanor or felony hit and runs in California. The right hit and run lawyer in San Diego could be able to defend you on grounds such as:
- The driver did not know an accident occurred. This might happen if the accident was extremely minor, such as a light bump on a fender in a parking lot.
- There was not any damage or injury. There might not be any damage or injury if the person ran into a fence but did not cause any harm.
- The damage only occurred on the driver’s car. This could occur if a driver bumps into another car going at a very low speed and only does damage to their own vehicle.
Contact the Law Offices of Bradley Corbett
If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor hit and run in California, a hit and run lawyer in the San Diego area like Bradley Corbett can help argue your case and defend you in court. Our experienced team has the knowledge to defend you well, giving you the best chance at good results. Contact us today to find out how we can help you fight for a more favorable outcome in your hit and run case.