The legal consequences you face for a hit & run in L.A. can vary greatly. They can move from a misdemeanor to a serious felony charge. One of the most important factors in determining what charges you may face will solely depend on the injuries that occurred during the accident. If you left the scene and then were arrested for a hit & run in Los Angeles, and the victim was seriously hurt (or killed) you could face life-changing consequences, which include jail time and steep fines.
California vehicle laws demand certain responsibilities for drivers who are involved in an accident that causes any type of property damage. These rules, of course, include hitting an individual. The law requires that “you stop your vehicle immediately and proceed to do either of the following things.
- Exchange personal information (name, address, driver’s license, vehicle registration) with others involved in the accident; or
- Leave a note containing personal information in a conspicuous place for the owner of any property that is damaged because of the accident.
A hit and run can be a misdemeanor offense unless the accident causes a victim some type of bodily injury. If you leave the scene of an accident knowing that you likely injured a victim, you can be arrested for felony hit and run.
California and L.A., vehicle laws impose specific legal requirements on drivers who are involved in injury-causing accidents. Failure to take all the following steps after a Los Angeles accident can result in a felony hit and run charge.
You must do the following:
- Stop your vehicle immediately in a safe location.
- Provide the names and addresses of everyone in your car to the person who was injured.
- Provide your vehicle registration information to the person who was injured.
- Provide all relevant information to traffic or police officers at the scene.
- Most importantly, provide any reasonable assistance to get injured parties to a doctor or hospital.
Failure to do all these things can cause you to be arrested for a hit and run.
Fleeing the scene, even if damage may be minor or no one was injured can result in a misdemeanor hit & run and can be punishable by up to:
- Six months in a Los Angeles County jail.
- $1,000 fine.
- Three years of informal/summary probation.
- Possible assignment of two points to your California driver’s license.
The penalties for a felony hit and run depend on the extent of the injuries that were caused by the accident. Even if someone were only slightly injured, felony hit and run carry a penalty of up to:
- One year in a California state prison.
- Up to a $10,000 fine.
If your accident results in the serious bodily injury or death of another person, then the penalties can be:
- A minimum of 90 days in a Los Angeles County jail.
- A maximum of four years in a California state prison.
- Up to a $10,000 fine.
You begin to see how serious these charges can get, and you should retain the help of a Los Angeles hit-and-run lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will go over all the details of the accident and know the best way for you to proceed.
What is Civil Compromise, and Can It Help Me Avoid Criminal Penalties?
There are some cases where misdemeanor hit and run charges can be dismissed if you agree to take total responsibility for the cost of the accident, etc. If your L.A. criminal defense lawyer feels you meet the requirements of a civil compromise, the court has the discretion to dismiss any charges against you. A successful civil compromise requires that you fully compensate the accident victim for their damage.
Once all costs have been paid in full, the victim can appear before a judge, explain that you have paid for all related expenses, and ask that the charges against you be dismissed. The court then has full discretion to stop the criminal proceedings against you.
Only your L.A. hit & run attorney is qualified to determine and present the case to the courts, but a civil compromise can mitigate or eliminate severe consequences.
How Long to I Have to Report a Hit & Run in California?
If you are involved in a car accident, of any type, or no matter who was at fault, and the accident results in injury or death, you are required by California law to report the accident within 24 hours.
The police have 10 days to complete an investigation on almost all vehicle accidents, including hit & run. A police officer must then submit a report to their supervisor and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Even if a crash seems minor, fleeing the scene makes the penalties much worse and it is always in your best interest to tell the authorities yourself.
You may want to consult with your hit & run attorney first, so you can proceed in the best legal manner. Keep in mind, however, time is of the essence.
What Evidence is Usually needed for a Hit & Run to Be Proven?
In most cases, the prosecutor must prove that the accident caused damage to someone else’s property or another individual. Also, that you knew that another person’s property, or the individual, had been injured or property damaged.
They must prove you were the person who fled the accident scene and was the driver of the vehicle involved. If the accident resulted in property damage or injury or death of another person, things could escalate quickly for you. This is exactly the time when your criminal defense hit & run lawyer can help you most. By getting the help of a criminal defense professional, you can mitigate the possible grave consequences you face.
I’ve Been Involved in a Hit & Run in L.A., What Should I Do First?
Time is not on your side, get the professional help of an L.A. hit & run attorney as soon as possible. The Miranda Rights law firm in L.A. has provided empathetic, effective legal representation for a myriad of hit & run clients. Get their help now and move on with your life.