Los Angeles Hit & Run Defense Attorney

When a Traffic Accident Becomes a "Hit and Run"

When you are involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles and subsequently flee the scene, you could be charged with a hit and run offense. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident before producing the proper documentation and/or exchanging insurance information with the other parties involved—regardless of how serious the accident actually was. Whether you were involved in a motor vehicle accident while out on the road, you hit a parked car or you otherwise damaged someone else's property, you could face charges for a driving crime if you fail to follow proper procedure.

California Vehicle Codes 20001, 20002, 20003 & 20004

Under California Vehicle Code 20002, you are required to follow specific procedures if you are involved in an accident that results in property damage to another vehicle. First, you must stop and attempt to locate the owner of the other vehicle. If they cannot be located, you cannot leave the scene until you have left a note that describes the circumstances of the accident and contains driver documentation.

You must also report the accident to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or the local police. If you are involved in an accident that results in injury or death to another person, California Vehicle Codes 20001, 20003 and 20004 state that you must perform all of the same actions as previously described. You must also render reasonable aid to anyone who has been injured. This could include calling an ambulance.

What type of documentation do I have to provide?

Simply put, the best way to avoid hit and run charges after a motor vehicle accident is to stop and exchange information with the other parties involved. Even if the damaged property is unoccupied, leaving a visible note with your contact information and the facts surrounding the case would be acceptable. In every case, the police must also be notified of the accident, and you must provide at least four types of documentation.

When providing driver documentation, it should include:

  • Your full name / your phone number
  • Your license plate number & state of issuance
  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Your insurance carrier's information.

Penalties for a Hit and Run Conviction in California

Depending on the seriousness of the accident, the extent of the damage that was caused and whether or not you have been convicted of a similar crime in the past, you could either be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. If you have been tied to a hit and run crime in Los Angeles, you must act quickly to protect your rights.

  • Misdemeanor hit and run if you were involved in a minor traffic accident and no one was seriously injured, it is likely that you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This is defined as "failing to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in property damage." The penalties may include up to 180 days in county jail and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • Felony hit and run if you were involved in a more serious traffic accident wherein someone else was killed or injured, it is likely that you will be charged with a felony offense. This is defined as "failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving injury or death." The penalties may include up to four years in state prison and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.

Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners Can Defend Your Rights

Were you recently arrested for a hit and run crime in Los Angeles, CA? If so, you should waste no time in contacting a criminal defense lawyer at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. With more than 70 years of combined legal experience, our firm knows how to build an effective defense. When our clients are first-time offenders in a hit and run case, they rarely serve any jail time. In some cases, we have even been able to work out an agreement with the victim, judge or district attorney—resulting in a dismissal of the criminal proceedings. Find out how we can assist you by giving us a call today.

Contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney at our office to discuss your case. In a free case evaluation, we can advise you of your rights and legal options.