What Californians Need to Know About Hit and Run Charges
Less Known Facts About Hit and Run Crimes
It is not widely known that even if you do not cause an accident, you may be face charges for a hit and run in some circumstances. Suppose another driver hits your car, and you leave without giving your driver's license and insurance information to the other driver. In that case, you may still face criminal charges for a hit and run in San Diego.
Another less well-known fact about hit and run charges is that damaged property is considered non-vehicle property but falls under the hit and run law in California. If you damage property and leave the scene without leaving information, including how to contact you, you may face charges for a hit and run. If you damage property and cannot reach the person whose property was damaged, you must leave contact information. These charges are typically charged as misdemeanors but can still hold fines and jail time. The courts may also choose to seize your vehicle in these cases.
Excusable Reasons to Leave the Scene
One of the reasons the court will consider leaving the scene of a hit-and-run reasonable is to seek medical help. If you or someone else on the scene requires emergency medical attention, you may leave the location of the accident to seek the care necessary. If you do leave the scene to get medical attention for you or anyone else involved, you must immediately notify hospital staff about the accident. The hospital staff will reach out to law enforcement so anyone else involved can be identified. Police will ask for your license and insurance information.
Suppose you are in an accident and feel the urgency to leave the scene to seek medical attention, and you notify hospital staff. However, you are still facing charges for leaving the location of the accident. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to successfully fight the charges if you alert hospital staff or law enforcement and provide your personal information. Suppose you left the scene but did not notify anyone about the accident. In that case, it is critical you find a San Diego defense lawyer who can initiate paperwork to protect you and be proactive in court filings.
Penalties for Leaving the Scene
The severity of the penalties will depend significantly on if someone was injured. If a person experienced great bodily injury or if the defendant has a criminal history, hefty fines and jail time are typical penalties for fleeing an accident. If an animal dies as a result of a hit-and-run accident, animal abuse charges may be filed.
Felony charges fall under California Vehicle Code 20001. If you decided to flee the scene of an accident, while leaving someone even slightly injured, the prosecution would ask for driver's license suspension, jail time, and enormous fines. Remember, this is true even if you did not cause the accident. If you do not seek professional legal help, you may be facing up to four years in prison and loss of the vehicle.
Any jail time is understandably disruptive and may be a mark on your record. Additionally, finding ways to cover while incarcerated causes hardship to those you love, care for, and provide for. Paying fines can also create stress and create more challenges after the incident. It is best not to leave the outcome to chance by representing yourself. Call an excellent criminal defense attorney like Joni K. Eisenstein to get a free consultation. Joni can relate well to people, especially in stressful times. She is relentless in fighting for her clients and has successfully helped many clients facing hit-and-run charges.
In more severe circumstances, if someone hit dies, the person being charged may face vehicular manslaughter charges. If you face serious charges of vehicular manslaughter, seek legal advice and counsel immediately. A criminal defense attorney in San Diego knows the ins and outs of the court system and will have experience working hit and run cases. Insight and experience make a significant difference in the outcome of these cases.
A reputable criminal defense lawyer will work to have your charges reduced and help you avoid any jail time. Your attorney will also ask for community service or another alternative sentence. First and foremost, your attorney will work to get the case dismissed. As you can imagine, this greatly depends on the details of your case, and that is why it is essential to contact a criminal defense attorney in San Diego as soon as possible. Let someone with experience in hit-and-run cases take the stress out of your hands. These professionals will be direct and intentional about getting the information they need to present your case to the court and get the best possible outcome for you.
If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now
Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.