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Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer

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Hit and Run Attorney in Los Angeles, California

Traffic accidents are unfortunately common, and chances are you might find yourself in one at some point. Your actions immediately following the incident are crucial. It’s easy to panic in these high-stress situations, and you might even think about leaving the scene. However, doing so could lead to severe legal repercussions.

In California, if you’re in a car crash, the law says you have to stop, help anyone who’s hurt, and give your contact info to the other people involved. If you hit and run, you’re breaking the law and could get into serious legal trouble.

Hit-and-run cases could lead to either a misdemeanor or felony charge. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run, you should contact your criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Do not wait for charges to be brought against you. If you have already been charged, our criminal defense lawyers may still be able to help you.

California Hit and Run Laws

California Vehicle Code 20000 – 20010 VC creates the ‘hit-and-run offense.’ It is divided into two categories depending on the damage the accident caused.

Injury to Person

If the accident causes the injury or death of a person, sections 20003 and 20004 require drivers to:

  • Immediately stop at the accident scene
  • Give the driver or occupant of any vehicles they collided with or persons struck:
    • their name and residential address,
    • vehicle registration number,
    • owner of the vehicle’s name and residential address (if it belongs to someone else),
    • the name and address of persons injured in the driver’s vehicle.
  • Give the above information to any traffic or police officer on the scene.
  • Make a report to a nearby police station or office of the Highway Patrol if no officers are at the scene.
  • Provide reasonable assistance to persons injured in the accident. (This includes transporting or making arrangements to transport injured persons to the hospital if necessary or requested by them.)

Property Damage

If the accident causes property damage, Vehicle Code 20002 VC states that the driver must:

  • Stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not cause harm to other road users or impede traffic
  • Find the property owner or person in charge of it and provide the following information:
    • their name and residential address,
    • the vehicle owner’s name and address (if it is a different person).
  • Show their driver’s license and vehicle registration upon request to:
    • the property owner,
    • the person in charge of the property,
    • other persons involved in the accident.

If the person is unable to locate the property owner, the driver must:

  • Leave a written note with their name and address and that of the vehicle owner.
  • Leave a statement explaining the circumstances of the accident.
  • Notify the police or Highway Patrol office of the city wherein the accident occurred.

Possible Penalties for Hit and Run

Hit-and-run drivers may have their licenses suspended or revoked as an administrative penalty. Meanwhile, they also face felony or misdemeanor criminal penalties depending on the case.

Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run Penalty

Hit-and-run accidents involving property damage are charged as misdemeanors. The penalty is imprisonment in a county jail for a maximum of six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

However, other circumstances may lead to multiple criminal charges with much worse consequences. For example, a DUI with an accident or a hit-and-run while fleeing a felony crime scene might be charged more severely.

Meanwhile, a hit-and-run accident involving injury to persons is known as a ‘wobbler’ crime. This means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. Often, these cases will be initially filed as a felony but then lowered to a misdemeanor offense at the prosecution’s discretion, depending on criminal history and other circumstances of individual cases.

If prosecuted as a misdemeanor, the penalty for hit and run accidents involving some injury could be at least 90 days and up to a year in a county jail, a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, or both.

Felony Hit-and-Run Penalty

According to Vehicle Code 20001, the felony penalty for a personal injury hit-and-run is incarceration in state prison for up to a year. If the car accident case results in death or permanent injury, the term increases to two to four years.

A driver who flees the scene after committing gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or due to gross negligence will face an additional five years in state prison to be served consecutively to the initial two to four years prescribed.

How a Hit and Run Lawyer Can Help You

Hit and run accident cases are very delicate, and a lot depends on the circumstances surrounding your accident. A criminal lawyer can provide you with the following assistance:

  • Preparing your statement: You might need to give statements to the police or an insurance company after a hit-and-run. Speaking to an attorney beforehand can prevent you from saying anything self-incriminating. Your attorney can guide you through your statement and proper conduct after the accident.
  • Possibly preventing a trial: If you contact your attorney before charges are filed against you, they may be able to convince law enforcement not to contact the prosecutor.
  • Reviewing extenuating circumstances: One of the jobs of your hit and run accident lawyer is to assess the circumstances of your case. They will determine if any mitigating factors can help your case. Then, they can use this to develop a suitable defense strategy in court.
  • Pushing for a minimal sentence: Even if you cannot be cleared of all charges, a skilled hit and run attorney may be able to get you a lesser sentence. They can do this by liaising with the prosecution for a plea deal or putting up a solid defense in court.

Reach Out to the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney

The possible consequences of a California hit and run conviction can be very severe. The ensuing criminal record and driving restrictions can affect you for a long time. But you have a fighting chance with the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney.

Do not face the justice system alone. Representation by a skilled attorney can make all the difference, especially when you take action quickly. We combine experience with a compassionate, refreshing, aggressive criminal defense approach.

Furthermore, we do everything in our power to ensure that your charges are reduced or dropped. Don’t take our word for it. Book a free consultation with us today to discuss how we can help you.

Schedule Your Consultation

Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.