When a person flees the scene of an accident he or she was involved in, the person is participating in criminal activity known as a hit and run. Most people only think of hit and runs as an accident involving vehicles, but hit and runs also involve motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and e-scooter riders. Hit and runs also involve property such as land, signs and traffic signals and even pets. If you find yourself in a hit and run accident, you should seek legal assistance from a highly experienced San Diego hit and run attorney.
California Recognizes Two Types of Charges for Hit and Runs
Depending upon the hit and run situation, a person can face two types of charges – a felony charge and a misdemeanor charge. Today, Boertje & Associates will describe the differences in hit and run charges and how the charges apply to certain situations.
- Felony Charge
A person may face a felony charge for a hit and run if the accident results in an injury to another person, or even death. California Vehicle Code Section 2001 is the authority on the felony charge surrounding hit and runs and the penalties that follow. In order to avoid this charge, the person must have stopped the vehicle and exchanged information such as name, address, and vehicle information.
The person must also render aid in transporting the accident victim to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for treatment.
- Misdemeanor Charge
When property damage stems from a hit and run accident, a person may face a misdemeanor charge. To avoid this charge, under California Vehicle Code Section 2002, the person must have stopped the vehicle immediately at the nearest location. The location must not interfere with traffic or put the safety of other drivers at risk.
Common Defenses to Hit and Runs
A hit and run is a serious crime in San Diego that comes with strict penalties including jail time, prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, and driver’s license suspension or revocation. However, a San Diego hit and run attorney can help dismiss the case or at least reduce the charges and penalties with these defenses:
- There is no property damage or injury to others
- No knowledge of accident, property damage or injury
- Car stolen or borrowed (meaning, the vehicle owner was not driving)
- Did not willfully leave the scene (could not stop due to traffic)