Hit and Run – What happens if I leave the scene of an accident in California?

While reading that question, you may have instantaneously thought of a car accident. However, there are also accidents that involve drugs, damage and death. Between the adrenaline rush, a racing heart, and nerves, people may run or flee the scene. In California this may be considered a misdemeanor or felony depending on the situation, and can result in heavy fines and jail time.

Although this rule pertains to all accidents, it is mostly associated with car accidents. California hit and run takes place if someone leaves the scene of an accident without first identifying themselves to the other people involved. It is very important that all involved parties stop immediately after they have been in an accident. Sometimes, the minutes immediately following an accident are crucial to saving a driver or passenger’s life, and for this reason law enforcement comes down hard on drivers who flee the scene of an accident.

Misdemeanors usually involve someone fleeing a scene where there is only damage to the other parties’ property as well as minor injuries. A misdemeanor hit and run can get you up to 6 months in jail as well as a heavy fine. In cases where someone other than yourself is seriously injured and possibly dead, you could be charged with a felony, or possibly manslaughter. The prosecutor will look at your criminal history as well as accident details to decide whether or not to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony in those cases where there is injury or death. California hit and run laws still apply whether or not the accident was your fault. If prosecuted as a felony, you could be facing up to $10,000 in fines as well as 16 months to 3 years in prison. However, if someone was killed or permanently disabled, you could be facing 2-4 years.

Leaving the scene of any accident is a crime and serious issue. So don’t do it! In any case, if you find yourself in that situation, you can fight it! There are a number of defenses that your California criminal defense attorney can use to help lessen your charges or even get them dropped. If you have been charged with a hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident, it is important you hire an experienced attorney who will work to have this charge reduced or dismissed. William Daley is an experienced criminal defense and San Diego DUI lawyer with over thirty years of experience. Call THE LAW OFFICE OF WILLIAM DALEY at (619) 238-1905 to set up a free 30 minute consultation today!

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