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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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!!
“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..”
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