A hit and run is not your standard traffic tickets. Drivers involved in accidents are required to exchange personal and insurance information, but if injured, they must also try to help others. Some drivers are so scared or panicked that they flee instead of stopping to give reasonable assistance at the accident scene. The following are 7 things you should know if for some reason you are caught and given a hit and run ticket or left the scene without making an accident report.
Coming back after running doesnt solve things
The most common way is by speeding away from the traffic accident. Once you drove away and there is damage to property then you can’t come back because if you do then you can get charged for the hit and run.
This is the case even if you are parked a 100 yards waiting for the officer to come by or if the accident was not your fault to begin with. For example, the other driver disregarded basic traffic laws and ran a red light and you left without after the auto accident then this means you will be the one responsible. the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute these types of facts.
Leaving the scene of an accident of a crime in California and is a violation of Hit and Run (VC 20002(a)). There are many ways to handle an accident without ending up with a hit and run ticket.
You must leave a Note
Drivers who strike a parked car are still obligated to exchange info with the property owner of the car. If the owner is not immediately present and can’t be located and there is property damage, the driver must leave a message with the unattended vehicle and all the necessary info. The note must be left on the windshield of a car or on the front doors of a building where property is damaged. If the property damage is estimated at over $500 failure to do so will result in you getting a hit and run ticket.
When you leave the scene of an accident and get caught the officer will cite you with a hit and run ticket which is a criminal offense. He will either you take to the police station if you are alaready there or send you a letter in the mail to come down to the station. It’s important that you excercise your rights to remain silent at this point in time as you do not have aduty to talk with law enforcement.
There are Criminal Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident
When you get a Hit and run ticket you are also facing a serious crime. In California there is a maximum penalty of 6 month Imprisonment in county jail and a $1000 fine maximum. The fines for hitting someone and leaving the scene in Orange County are a few thousand dollars. There is also a risk of jail time if you’re convicted. It’s important that you contact a hit and run attorney for your case.
Remember, a hit and run may be classified as a misdemeanor if there is minor injuries or a felony depending on the circumstances ie it created great bodily injuries. If someone is injured in the accident then you may be facing a felony for the injured person and leaving without giving reasonable effort to give assistance. This can put your exposure to jail up to 3 years which means you can do several months in jail. On the other hand if it was only minor injuries then you it can still be a misdemeanor hit and run.
Administrative Penalties from DMV Driver Safety for Leaving the Scene of a Car Accident
Even if you are not convicted for a Hit and run, you will still be on the hook for the administrative part with California DMV Driver Safety Office. You can get a notice from the DMV for an administrative hearing. The penalty at the DMV is a license suspension because you did not report your accident. However, there are proof issues which makes it hard for DMV to suspend your license as they can’t do it with hearsay statements from the accident report alone. These are identity issues which makes it hard to prove who the driver is.
Civil Penalties after getting a Hit and Run Ticket
Even if you are not criminally responsible you an sill be civilly. The standards are lower and they would only need your license plate to get the case against you going. Plaintiffs will go after the registered owner of the car and they can be found responsible and either be held to pay or point out the actual driver.
Your insurance company may deny coverage for your hit and run accident. In addition, if you lie to your insurance company about who was driving then you can expose yourself to the additional criminal charges of insurance fraud. On the other hand if you have to also be careful by saying too much as it will reveal that you were the driver of the car.
We can help with your Hit and Run Ticket
If your Hit and Run ticker is in any of the Orange County Courthouse call us for a free legal consultation regarding your case (714) 589-3063. As a criminal defense lawyer I have handled many Hit and Run Tickets involving the local police departments and am familiar with their procedures and police officers.