Orange County hit and run attorney

Citation to appear in court.

California Hit and Run Punishment and Sentencing (CVC 20001, 20002(A))

A hit and run in with property damage in California carries a one year maximum in jail.  There is a duty to stop, give aid or identify yourself.  Not doing so can result in a police officer looking for you or even possibly looking at the person who is the registered owner of the vehicle you were driving.  It's important that you know the hit and run laws enough to know whether you need an attorney. 

Hit and Run  - What Can Happen in Orange County? 

What kind of Consequences is a person looking at for a hit and run charge  in Orange County and Is There Jail if a person is injured? 

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Am I Going to Jail?

The possiblity is real if you hit a person and seriously hurt them and took off. However,  there is a good not going to jail if there were no witnesses to identify you and the police officer is still trying to piece things together.  You can tell they are trying to piece things together when they are calling you and wanting to ask questions. You need to think long and hard if you are are invited to the station for a few questions for a hit and run in California. A hit and run  in California carries with it a maximum of 6 months to a year in jail if there is property damage only and can go higher if a person was hurt.  The hit and run  will also differ depending on which county the hit and run  happened in. For example, Orange County and LA County will treat their hit and runs very differently. 

Orange County Hit and Run Attorney

A courtesy letter from the Orange County District Attorney's Office to show up to court.

Stay out of jail

Make an appointment and stay out of jail

Hit and runs are common in Orange County. They happen a lot in the Westminster and the Irvine Area. Most of these hit and runs start out as a minor traffic collision which would be nothing more than a stop and exchange of information. Traffic collisions such as running a red light or an improper lane change happens. It gets complicated when one causes an accident which leads to one party running off. Drivers are supposed to stop after an accident and exchange information regardless of who was at fault. This does not happen, people think it is okay as long as you stop immediately after the accident or turn yourself into the accident the next day. However, the duty to stop and render aid or identify oneself is absolute.

Even if you were not at fault. Your duty to stop is absolute regardless of whether or not you were at fault. A person can not leave the scene of an accident without assisting a person in injured even if it was the other person’s fault. Whether the injured party was a fault is irrelevant in determining a conviction under the hit and run laws of California. People v. Mace (Cal. App. 5th Dist. Aug. 24, 2011)

How can I stay out of Jail?

There are ways around jail time. The first is to not let the investigation move forward. The reality of hit and run laws in California is that people do not stop to identify themselves. This makes it hard for the prosecution ot prove heir case and can be used in your advantage. 

Orange County Hit and Run Attorney

Sample of Complaint filed by the Orange County District Attorneys Office.

Proving Who is the Driver is Difficult in a California Hit and Run Case

The reality is that the registered owner of the car is not always the driver involved. Often times, the driver is the son or daughter of the owner and they are only driving their parent’s cars. This results in them getting in an accident and sending the police to the registered owners address. Depending on the living arrangement of the people involved, this can get more complicated. Because It is not always the person who owns the car who is driving it, this leads to the wrong person being put under the radar. For example, a dad may own a car and lend it out to his son who commits a hit and run, this will result in the police running the license plate and coming back to the dad and questioning him. Hence the dad will feel that he has no choice but to give up his son or will not know what is going and lead police to the driver.

Just Leaving the Scene is a Crime

The problem with leaving the scene of a property damage acident without stopping is that it is a misdeameanor crime in Orange County. This is the case even if the person had no intention of running off but was merely scared. It happens a lot with younger drivers in college. These drivers have never been in an accident, so they get nercous on their first accident and the fight or flight instinct kicks in and may drivers run off. However, on the hand a lot of drivers get agitated and strat arguing and confrontational. This can be an excuse for one party to take off especially if it would lead to more escalation. For example, there is an accident and the other party is agitated and is impossible to talk to. If this is the case, then this can be used to your advantage for the purpose of dismissing your case.

To Further Complicate things, people do not always know that they hit something and thus have a duty to stop. For example, a person may be driving and feel a small bump and not realize anything then continue driving off. This is the beginning of every hit and run. In other cases an unlicensed person may cause a car wreck and break out running on foot.

Arrest warrants orange county

Not Knowing the Law is Not an Excuse

Hit and runs happen a lot with people who are not familiar with this country’s laws. In other countries it is cstomary for people to stop if there is an accident and move on if the damage is minor. For example, a dad from Japan is here visiting and borrows a car for getting around town. He gets into a finder biner in the parking lot and stops to look and see the damage as minimal and takes off. When this happens, he has committed a misdeameanor even though he stopped. In addition, even if he took off and went to the police the next day it is still a misdeameanor. The duty to stop and render aid and identify is absolute. Unfortunately, not dealing with a problem can lead to more trouble.

Difficulties with California Hit and Run Cases

The Law Enables Police Officers to Take Your Car

The first of several problems California Hit and Runs laws for the driver is that the victim will call the police. When this happens and the crime is reported. The police will only get one version of the story. This one sided version is always prejudiced against the driver in the case. In addition to this, the police will also have their mind up as to who the person at fault us because of the fleeing. This never ends up well for the person being investigated for and a hit and run. This is why it is important to one does not incriminated themselves while talking with the police. An officer will have the state’s resources at his disposal. He will be able to use the computer to look up DMV registration to find out who a car is registered and where the owner lives. In addition the California hit and run law Section 22665 gives an officer power to take your vehicle into his possession.

  • “(a) When any peace officer, as that term is defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code or any regularly employed and salaried employee who is engaged in directing traffic or enforcing parking statutes and regulations, has reasonable cause to believe that a motor vehicle on a highway or on private property open to the general public onto which the public is explicitly or implicitly invited, located within the territorial limits in which the officer is empowered to act, has been involved in a hit–and–run accident, and the operator of the vehicle has failed to stop and comply with Sections 20002 to 20006, inclusive, the officer may remove the vehicle from the highway or from public or private property for the purpose of inspection”

This law gives an officer the power to take your car away and hold onto it.  It is a common ​tactic among police officers to hold onto a car until and make the driver confess that he was driving. 

Police holding on to your car for a Hit and Run?

Get your car back and fight your Hit and Run Investigation

You can be Convicted of a Hit and Run even if You weren't driving

Courts have also held that you can be convicted of a hit and run even if you were not driving at the time. For example, you are the owner of the car, you were riding in it at the time, and had actual control over where it was going, and that the car hit or killed someone and did not stop then the courts have held this would be enough. People v. Odom (Cal. App. Mar. 18, 1937), 19 Cal. App. 2d 641. However, the main question is whether or not you had control over the vehicle. These are the facts that must be established for the prosecution to make their case against you. For example, you go out drinking and have a designated driver (DD). The DD hits a person and panicks and you yell out to the driver to keep on going. You can be conviced under the hit and run laws of California for this.

Getting Insurance to Fix Your Car without exposing yourself for the Hit and Run

Stay out of Trouble and Fixing Your Car

Have your cake and eat it too. 

Another problem with hit and run collisions is dealing with insurance. Its easy to want to get your car fixed after an accident. People will call their insurance company and admit they were driving. This fills in the important part that they were driving the car. However, the other part is that a person may decide to not say they were driving for the purpose of avoiding detection by the police and instead say a 3rd party was driving. This will result in a new crime of insurance fraud. The goal here is to have insurance cover and get away from the investigation if possible. It’s important to have an experience hit and run attorney who deals with the local police departments and is familiar with dealing insurance companies.

Hiring an Attorney 

There are pros and cons to hiring an attorney for your hit and run case. The biggest con for hiring an attorney for your hit and run is the cost. The average cost for to get you out of trouble is going to run you around $2500.00 for a misdemeanor. However, the pros for hiring an attorney for your case outweighs the cons heavily especially if you have a clean criminal record or are on probation. An attorney can mean the difference in your fines, possible jail time. An attorney will represent in court and the investigation. Many people do not know how to represent themselves in court and often say the wrong things.

If the police are still trying to contact you then this is the most crucial time to get help because putting a stop in the investigation can mean the difference between having a case filed against you and not having a case filed. This is accomplished via the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney at the time of questioning. The maximum sentence for a misdeameanor hit and run in Orange County is 1 year in jail. For a Felony it is a year or more in prison. Factors that can affect whether a charge is a felony or misdeamnor are whether or not there was an injury involved and the severity of the accident.Defenses to Hit and Run.

Hit and runs are not open and shut cases. The police have the burden of proof that there was a collision and that a certain was driving the car. Often times, a victim or witness would not be able to identify the driver beause things happen so fast. Other times even if people were identified, there are still other avenues to get a case dismissed. Such ways include a civil compromise.

Orange County Hit and Run

Having the right attorney by your side will make all the difference.

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Recent Hit and Run  Results -  A history of Success

Client Crashes Car on Freeway and Runs

  • Client was on DUI probation,  crashed car, was DUI
  • CHP came to registered owners house in middle of night
  • Client ran off on foot 
  • NO CHARGES FILED

On DUI Probation, Suspended License,  

  • Car Towed
  • Able to get back car
  • No charges filed on Client
  • Client brought us on before talking with police 

OCC Student changes lane into car

  • No Charges Filed
  • Caught on Camera
  • Insurance reimbursed victim
  • No Charges Filed

Collision on freeway 

  • Client accsued of rear ending another on 405 freeway.  Hieu Vu stopped the investigation by having client invoke rights
  • Police came to house and wanted to talk with Client. 
  • No Charges Filed

Collision In Tustin 

  • Male Driver  got into Accident Driver and Drove Off
  • Registered Owner was contacted
  • Got Victim Paid Off and Car Fixed
  • No Charges Filed

Testimonials - What Clients Say About Hieu Vu

Nacho

Trustworthy

Great lawyer I got 2 d.u.I.'s back to back and he managed to keep me out of jail, worked with me all the way through it and gided me through the process. Not expensive and gave me a chance on making payments what more could I ask for in a lawyer!!

Goes Above and Beyond

“EAbout a year ago I made the great mistake of getting a DUI right after getting my degree as a registered nurse. At first I was apprehensive whether or not to get an attorney, because I was already in debt from med school. So I spoke to a handful of lawyers, and after speaking with Hieu, I knew right away this was the man I needed - a decision I did not regret it once..”

Danielle P

Have a Trustworthy Attorney by Your Side


About Hieu Vu

Tustin Criminal Defense Attorney

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“To the client, every angle is important, there’s a number of questions, and each person also have their own worries. Some will need a person to listen to them. At the end of the day, it’s more than just delivering legal results. I put a 110% into every person I work. I strive to make sure everyone knows what is going on and is kept in the loop as the case goes on. The practice of law is more than just getting the results in court.” -Hieu Vu

Tustin's Criminal Defense Attorney

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