HIt and Run

Hit and Run: California Vehicle Code sections 20001 and 20002

California drivers have certain responsibilities when involved in an accident that results in injury or property damage. If drivers do not fulfill these responsibilities, they could face criminal charges that result in a conviction, fines, and even jail time. If you are facing charges in California for Hit and Run, the experienced attorneys at McDowell & Associates, Attorneys can help guide you and provide the strongest defense possible. Call right away at (213) 401-2322.

Hit and Run Laws in California

There are a couple different statutes that make up California’s Hit and Run laws and say what a driver is supposed to do when involved in an accident.

California Vehicle Code section 20001 – Duty to Stop at Scene of Accident

California Vehicle Code section 20001 (VC20001) requires that a driver involved in an accident in which any person, other than himself/herself is injured or killed immediately stop at the scene of the accident.

Once the driver stops, s/he must fulfill the requirements of Vehicle Code sections 20003 and 20004.

Penalties for Failure to Stop

If a driver fails to stop at the scene of an accident s/he was involved in where another person was injured or killed, the fleeing driver may face penalties including:

Sentence to state prison or county jail for not more than one year AND/OR
Fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000

If, however, the accident results in death or permanent, serious injury, a driver who leaves the scene may face:
State prison for 2, 3, or 4 years
OR
County jail for 90 days to 1 year
AND/OR
Fine between $1000 and $10,000

If a driver leaves the scene of an accident that results in serious, permanent injury or death after committing a violation of section 191.5 or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) or section 192 of the Penal Code shall, upon conviction of any of those sections, receive an additional consecutive sentence of 5 years in state prison.

California Vehicle Code section 20002 – Permissible Action Duty Where Property Damaged

While VC20001 requires you to remain at an accident scene when people are injured or killed, VC20002 requires you to do the same thing when involved in an accident where property is damaged.

When property is damaged, as it often is in a car accident, the drivers involved must stop their vehicles “at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.” This simply means you should move your car out of the way of other cars and stop there.

Once you have stopped, you must locate the owner or person in charge of the damaged property and notify him or her of the name and address of both the driver (yourself) and the owner of the vehicle. If requested, you must also present your driver’s license and vehicle registration to the other driver or person in charge of the damaged property. The information you provide must show the current residence address of the driver and of the vehicle’s registered owner. If the registered owner of the vehicle is also at the scene, he or she must also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information or other valid identification, if the registered owner is not the driver.

If the property damaged is not the vehicle of another driver present or the property of another who is at the scene, you must:

Leave a note that is placed in a conspicuous place on either the vehicle or other property damaged

This note must provide:
Name and address of the driver and the vehicle owner
Statement of the circumstances

Notify the police department of the city in which the accident occurred “without unnecessary delay”

If the accident occurred in an unincorporated area, you must call the local office of the California Highway Patrol.

All requirements of VC20002 also apply to any person who parks a vehicle that then becomes a stray vehicle without being driven, causing property damage.

Penalties for Failure to Obey VC20002

Up to 6 months in county jail
AND/OR
Fine up to $1000

Contact McDowell & Associates, Attorneys

We know that it can be troublesome when you need to act quickly to access money. But often, obtaining valuable information on your case will depend on when you hire your attorney. Again, the old cliché “the sooner the better,” fits, as you don’t want to lose valuable witnesses, video, or other evidence which can be lost or destroyed quickly and easily. Call McDowell & Associates, Attorneys today to discuss the best financial arrangement possible for your particular situation at 213-401-2322.