California Hit And Run Laws

California Hit And Run Laws

by Feb 11, 2020

Leaving the scene of an automobile accident is commonly referred to as a “hit and run.” In California, like in every other state, a hit and run is a crime. The penalties for being convicted of a hit and run depend on whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and can include both fines and/or jail time.
 

Felony Vs Misdemeanor Hit And Run

The severity of the charges against you if you commit a hit and run will depend on the circumstances of the accident and if there were any injuries or fatalities.

Misdemeanor hit and run: You’ll most likely be charged with a misdemeanor if you leave the scene of an accident where there was minor to moderate property damage and no injuries to others. A typical example is if you hit another unoccupied car in a parking lot and get caught on security footage or reported by an eyewitness.

Felony hit and run: If you injure or kill someone in an auto accident and flee the scene, you’ll likely to get felony hit and run charges. Felony hit and run charges are much more severe and carry significantly higher penalties.

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Penalties For Hit And Run

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor hit and run, the most common penalties are a fine and suspension of your driver’s license for a certain period. You’ll also probably have to complete some sort of driver safety or awareness course before you are allowed back on the road.

If you’re convicted of felony hit and run, you’re almost certainly going to jail. You’re also likely to be fined a hefty amount, and your driver’s license will probably be revoked altogether. You also won’t be able to get any job that involves driving, among several other rights you’ll lose as a convicted felon.
 

Never Leave The Scene Of An Accident

Unless you are in imminent danger due to a fire or other hazard after an auto accident, you should never leave the scene. Even if the damage is only minor and no one was hurt, always take the following steps:

  • Stop your car after an impact and check to see if anyone was injured
  • Call the police to report the accident
  • Wait at the scene until police arrive
  • If you hit another car, you may want to exchange your name, address, and insurance information
  • Take note of any accident witnesses
  • Report the accident to your car insurance company

If you’ve hit an unoccupied parked car in a parking lot, consider leaving a note on the windshield with your name and contact information. Alternatively, you can contact the police to document the accident if it appears as though extensive damage was caused.

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