Most traffic crashes that result in injury, even serious bodily injury or death, are tragic accidents. But when the driver leaves the scene, criminal charges for “hit-and-run” can occur. Never leave the scene without complying with all of your reporting requirements. But if you made the mistake of leaving the scene then a criminal investigation has already begun.
Once the criminal investigation begins, you have a constitutional right to counsel and a right to remain silent so that you do not incriminate yourself. At that point, it is in your best interest to immediately contact a criminal defense attorney in for advice.
Local law enforcement agencies have entire units devoted to investigating these serious criminal offenses such as felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. In the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California, these cases are investigated by the Hit and Run Detail of the local California Police Department Investigations unit. Law enforcement agencies throughout the California have their own specialized units that investigate these cases.
You also need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to protect you. An attorney can help you assert your right to remain silent. The attorney can also explain your side of the story and present mitigation to explain your actions.
Attorney for Felony Hit and Run in California
If you were charged with felony hit and run in California, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. Our attorneys represent clients throughout California and the surrounding areas.
Criminal charges for leaving the scene can involve an accident that causes damage to property, injuries to passengers in your vehicle, injuries to the driver or passenger in another vehicle, a cyclist, or a pedestrian.
In addition to property damage of attended or unattended property, felony hit-and-run cases can involve non-serious personal injury, serious bodily injury or even death. The penalties can range from a misdemeanor for property damage to serious felony charges depending on the extent of another person’s injuries. We can help you decide what you need to do immediately to protect your rights.
Elements of California’s Felony Hit and Run Statute
The California Criminal Jury Instructions for the Failure to Stop After Vehicle Accident are found in CALJIC 12.70. In order to prove a violation of Vehicle Code section 20001, subdivision (a) (b)(1), each of the following elements must be proven at trial:
- A person while driving a motor vehicle was involved in an accident resulting in injury to another person;
- That person knew that an accident had occurred;
- That person knew that [he] [she] was involved in the accident and either knew:
- that the other person had been injured; or
- that from the nature of the accident it was probable that another person had been injured;
- That person willfully failed to perform one or more of the following duties:
- To immediately stop at the scene of the accident; and
- To give the following information:
- his or her name;
- current residence address;
- the registration number of the vehicle;
- the name and current residence of the owner of the vehicle and the name and current residence of any occupant of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident to the person injured or to the driver or occupants of the other vehicle, if any, and to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident; and
- if requested, failed to show his or her available driver’s license; and
- To render reasonable assistance to a person injured; and
- If there was no officer at the scene of the accident to whom to give the information, to report the accident without delay to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol or office of a duly authorized police authority and submit the report with the information required.
In order to prove a violation of Vehicle Code section 20001, subdivision (a) (b)(2), the following additional element must be proved:
The accident was a cause of death or permanent, serious injury to the accident victim.
Definitions under California’s Felony Hit and Run Statute
The word “knowingly” means that the driver of the vehicle involved knew that an accident had occurred, knew that he or she was involved in the accident and either knew that the accident resulted in injury to or death of a person or knew that it was of such a nature that it was probable that it resulted in injury or death.
The word “involved,” as used in the felony hit and run statute, means being connected with an accident in a natural or logical manner. To be “involved in an accident” does not necessarily require that your vehicle collided with another vehicle or a person.
The term “permanent, serious injury,” means the loss or permanent impairment of a function of any bodily member or organ.
Penalties for Hit and Run Causing Injury under CVC 20001(b)(1)
A hit and run that results in injury to another person is a “wobbler” in California. This means that the prosecutor can decide whether to charge the crime as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the nature of the injuries and whether you have any prior criminal record. The misdemeanor version of hit and run under CVC 20001(b)(1) comes with the following potential punishment:
- incarceration in jail for up to one year; and/or
- a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
If the hit and run with injury is charged as a felony under 20001(b)(1) then the charge is punishable by the following penalties:
- incarceration for up to three years in jail; and/or
- A fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
Penalties for Hit and Run with Serious Injury or Death under CVC 20002(b)(2)
If the hit and run resulted in death or serious bodily injury to another person, then the crime can be charged as a “wobbler” in California. The penalties are more severe for serious bodily injury cases than for non-serious bodily injury cases. The penalties for a conviction under CVC 20001(b)(2) as a misdemeanor include:
- incarceration for up to one year in jail with a minimum mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail; and/or
- a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
If the court describes the reasons on the record, the court can reduce or eliminate the 90 minimum mandatory requirement when doing so is in the “interests of justice.” The penalties for a conviction under CVC 20001(b)(2) as a felony include:
- incarceration for two, three or four years in prison; and/or
- a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
Leaving the Scene after a Vehicular Manslaughter – Gross or While Intoxicated
If you are charged with leaving the scene after committing the crime of vehicular manslaughter under either Penal Code Sections 191.5 or 192(c)(1), then the court can enhance the penalties by an additional term of five years in prison to run consecutive to any other sentence.
Hit and Run Investigations by the San Francisco Police Department – Visit the website of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to learn more about the Hit and Run Detail of the SFPD Investigations Bureau which is responsible for investigating a number of different types of leaving the scene incidents including fatal and serious injury accidents, hit and run, felony due, and felony police pursuits.Hit and Run Section of the SFPD
850 Bryant St, Rm. 415
San Francisco, CA 94013
Office hours 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday
Phone Number: (415) 553-1641
Felony Hit and Run in the SF Bay Area – Read the CBS SF Bay Area and KPIX-TV website to learn more about felony hit and run crimes occurring throughout San Francisco, CA. Learn more about the news for recent hit and run accidents that occurred yesterday or today.
Finding an Attorney for Felony Hit and Run in California
Under California law, hit-and-run is a general intent crime which means that the prosecution must prove only that the accused meant to do an act prohibited by law regardless of whether the defendant intended the act’s result. See People v. Henry, 23 Cal.App.2d 155, 165, 72 P.2d 915, 921 (4th Dist.1937).
The provisions for Felony Hit and Run are found in Vehicle Code § 20001, subdivisions (a), (b)(1) and (b)(2). A willful failure of a driver of any vehicle to comply with any one of these duties when involved in an accident resulting in injury (other than death or serious, permanent injury) is a violation of Vehicle Code section 20001, subdivision (a) (b)(1). If the accident causes death or serious permanent injury, it is a violation of Vehicle Code section 20001, subdivision (a) (b)(2).
If you were charged with felony hit and run under California Vehicle Code section 20001 for hit and run in California, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Ticket Crushers. Our attorneys represent clients on serious criminal traffic offenses including DUI, reckless driving, improper exhibition of speed, engaging in a speeding contest, or driving while license suspended.
Let us put our experience to work for you. Call 1 (866) 842-5384 today to discuss your case during a confidential consultation.