In a hit and run accident, a driver involved in a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or property intentionally fled the scene. Criminal charges are filed against an offender if he or she fled the scene of the accident without giving any information (such as his or her name, license plate number, and other necessary details). If a car crashes into another and there is property damage, there could be misdemeanor charges against the violator. These are often filed by the prosecution if the vehicle accident results in vehicle damage. If the hit and run accident, however, involved serious injuries and caused fatalities, the prosecutor may consider it as a felony conviction.
Such convictions could be avoided as long as you follow the California vehicle code. The most important thing that you should do is to stop and give your identification and contact number to the victim. Include your driver’s license, plate number, car insurance information, and registration. In a car accident, a person who is not guilty of any of the allegations may still be charged with criminal offenses if he or she flees the scene of the accident. Remember, you are obliged to provide your personal information even if you are not at fault. Not leaving the scene would be the best defense from facing criminal charges. Such would make the case evaluation and investigation more favorable for your end.
Some hit and run cases are from accidents involving vehicles in a parking lot. If you accidentally hit a parked vehicle and the owner of the car is not present at the scene, leave a note in a prominent area that includes your details and the description of what happened. You should also immediately call the police department and ask for assistance. In this kind of auto accident, if you fail to give information to an insurer, you may face costly fines and penalties.
Prosecutors consider these factors when evaluating if a motor vehicle accident should be considered as a hit and run:
- If you were present at the scene of the accident and was responsible
- If the car crashed caused serious injury or the death of a victim
- If you were aware of the damages and the serious injuries that the accident victims sustained
These must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the court proceeds with sentencing an individual accused of a crime. For misdemeanors, you may be sentenced up to one year of jail time. If your offenses had been aggravated into felony charges, you can face imprisonment for up to four years.
There are other possible hit-and-run defenses you may use to avoid punishments. Such could be the absence of any witnesses or lack of evidence that you were involved. The absence of property damage could also prevent you from being charged with such a crime (and consequently face possible criminal conviction). Seek the legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. He or she will help you understand your criminal case, how it may be dismissed, and what the best possible outcome may be. Your criminal attorney will fight for you, help prove your innocence, and convince the jurors during the jury trial.
If you have been involved in vehicle collisions, driving under the influence, or other personal injury cases, get legal representation from a reliable criminal defense lawyer. Contact us at the Law Offices of Marc Grossman for a free consultation.