LOS ANGELES HIT AND RUN DUI LAWYERS – LOS ANGELES DUI ATTORNEY GROUP
If you are involved in an accident that causes property damage or injuries, you are required under law to stop and provide proper identification to the other motorist regardless of fault and if the damage was to another person’s property. If injuries are apparent, you have other obligations as well in ensuring medical assistance has been called or persons transported if circumstances require it.
If you fail to perform these obligations, you can be charged with hit and run. Add in the element of intoxicated driving and you face more severe penalties. Immediately contact one of our Los Angeles Hit and Run DUI lawyers from the Los Angeles DUI Attorney Group should you face hit and run with DUI charges.
The California vehicle code section regarding misdemeanor hit and run reads:
“CVC 20002 (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:
Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.
Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.
Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.”
Obligations Regarding Property Damage Accident
If there was damage to another vehicle or your vehicle caused damage to other property, you must leave your name, license and insurance information to the other driver or property owner. The only time you are not is if the sole damage is to your own vehicle. If the owner is not present, you must leave a note in a conspicuous location giving your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner if it is not you, and how the accident occurred and then immediately notify the nearest police department in the city or town where the accident occurred.
If another driver caused property damage to your vehicle, you also must provide your identifying information. Your car need not have physically contacted another car before the obligation arises. For instance, if you caused another motorist to take evasive action that resulted in an accident, you do have to stop.
If you are in a hit and run where there was property damage, you face misdemeanor hit and run charges as well as a DUI if you were drinking or the officer has a basis for believing you are impaired.
Once law enforcement has information on your car if you fled the scene, you can be stopped and detained or met at your doorstep by officers who may have an arrest warrant. If you display signs of impairment, then the officer can move forward in asking you to take a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration or BAC. If you are at home when the police arrive, you are not obligated to answer any questions nor to allow them entry into your home unless they have an arrest warrant. Immediately call a Los Angeles Hit and Run DUI lawyers from the Los Angeles DUI Attorney Group.
For misdemeanor hit and run, the penalties are found in CVC Section 20001 as follows:
“CVC 20001(a:) The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.
(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
To summarize, you face:
- Fine up to $1,000 or to $10,000 if there was an injury
- Possible county jail time of up to 6 months or up to one year if there was a non-serious injury
- DUI penalties depending on whether you have prior convictions within the past 10 years
Causing property damage is an aggravating circumstance subjecting you to jail time and additional incarceration time as well as increased fines.
Obligations Regarding Injury or Fatality Accident
You face possible felony hit and run if you do not stop at the scene of a serious injury or fatal accident, give the required information or render assistance of some type pursuant to CVC Section 20001:
“CVC 20001(a): The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004…
(2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.
(3) In imposing the minimum fine required by this subdivision, the court shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required by this subdivision.
(c) A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation of Section 191.5 of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code, upon conviction of any of those sections, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the state prison. This additional term shall not be imposed unless the allegation is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted by the defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. The court shall not strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) As used in this section, “permanent, serious injury” means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.”
“CVC 20003. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall also give his or her name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and shall give the information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident. The driver also shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting, or making arrangements for transporting, any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if that transportation is requested by any injured person.
(b) Any driver or injured occupant of a driver’s vehicle subject to the provisions of subdivision (a) shall also, upon being requested, exhibit his or her driver’s license, if available, or, in the case of an injured occupant, any other available identification, to the person struck or to the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.
“CVC 20004. In the event of death of any person resulting from an accident, the driver of any vehicle involved after fulfilling the requirements of this division, and if there be no traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident to whom to give the information required by Section 20003, shall, without delay, report the accident to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol or office of a duly authorized police authority and submit with the report the information required by Section 20003.”
Penalties for Felony
For felony hit and run, the penalties are:
- Fine between $1,000 and $10,000
- State prison time of 16 months to 3 years
- If serious injury resulted or a fatality, the state prison time is 2 to 4 years
- An additional 5 years if a fatality occurred
The statute does provide for a misdemeanor charge in serious injury or fatality cases where the minimum is 90 days and no more than one year in jail or prison but the court has the discretion to impose less than that.
A serious injury that can elevate the hit and run to a felony is one that involves loss of a limb or permanent impairment of a bodily organ or member. A broken limb is considered a serious injury.
Defenses to Hit and Run DUI
Your Los Angeles Hit and Run DUI lawyers from the Los Angeles DUI Attorney Group lawyer will defend you on charges of hit and run and if you are charged with DUI in conjunction with that charge. For a hit and run, defenses include:
- You were not driving the car
- You were unaware that an accident occurred
- No one complained of injuries
- There was property damage to your car only
For DUI, possible defenses include:
- You were not under the influence at the time you were driving
- There is no proof you were driving
- A breath or blood test was not given according to protocol
- Any blood sample was tainted or chain of evidence not established or was violated
- The breath test was invalid due to lack of proper servicing
- You had a medical condition that skewed the test results
Other defenses may be available according to the facts and circumstances of your case. Contact one of our highly experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run DUI lawyers at the Los Angeles DUI Attorney Group.