California Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Hit and Run Charges Vehicle Code (California Vehicle Code) 20002
After being in an accident, you are required under California law to exchange insurance information. Failing to do so can result in a charge of hit and run.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles County, but you failed to exchange current insurance information with the other party, the police can charge you with a hit and run (California Vehicle Code 20002), regardless of who the at-fault driver is.
Typically, the police department will send you a letter following the accident, requesting that you come to the station to discuss the incident. Another letter will be mailed advising you of a court date for the charge of hit and run.
Consequences of a Hit and Run
Although a hit and run is a misdemeanor, it is still a criminal offense. The minimum consequences include:
- 1-5 years of Probation
- Up to $1,000 fine
- Two or three points being added to your driver’s license record
- Increased insurance rate
- Criminal record – Misdemeanor or Felony depending on the injury.
Getting Three Points on Your License
When charged with a hit and run, according to California Vehicle Code (VC) Section 20002, you could possibly face:
- Two points added to your driving record
- An additional point for the accident itself
- Three points total to your license
The best way to correct this problem is by working out a civil compromise.
Overview of a Civil Compromise
Have Your Hit and Run Charge Dropped
Additional Information about a Hit and Run
If you are in a motor vehicle accident but did not provide your proof of insurance to the other driver, you can be charged with a hit and run (VC 20002), regardless of who the at-fault driver is. Insurance information must be exchanged with the other driver once an accident occurs.
Often, pulling over and meeting with another driver after a minor accident in Los Angeles County is difficult due to congested streets. However, if you fail to find an acceptable place to exchange insurance information and the other driver takes down your vehicle’s license plate, he or she can call the police and report a hit and run (VC 20002). At that time, you may receive a letter from the police department advising that you are formally being charged with a hit and run. Depending on the situation, the police may also show up at your residence.
Punishment for a Misdemeanor
As long as the other party involved in the accident is unharmed, your hit and run charge will be a misdemeanor. However, if the other party is seriously injured and you leave the scene of the accident without first exchanging insurance information, the offense becomes a felony. In that case, you face much stiffer consequences.
Generally, the punishment for a misdemeanor hit and run is a three-year summary probation, around a $1,000 fine, and two points being added to your driver’s license record. As a result, there is a good chance that your insurance rate will increase significantly.
These are all good reasons to try to work out a civil compromise. With that, you would pay for damages to the other party’s vehicle. However, for a civil compromise to be successful, both the judge and prosecutor must sign off. If the civil compromise is agreed to, your hit and run case will be dismissed.
In Los Angeles County, We Can Help
If you have been charged with a hit and run in Los Angeles County, contact our law firm for a free legal consultation. By calling 844-999-9987, you can speak directly with a qualified attorney.
California Vehicle Code 20002
20002. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:
(1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.
(2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.
(c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
CA Vehicle Code 20002 imposes certain requirements upon an individual involved in a collision that causes damage to another’s property. This is typically another driver’s car, but can also be any property, including bicycles, fences, homes or even pets. Immediately after the collision, the driver is required to stop, provide the other party or parties with their name and current address (even if they are not present at the scene, i.e. damage caused to a parked car), and provide a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information upon request of the other party. If the driver is not the owner f the vehicle involved in the accident, they are required to provide a name and address of the car’s registered owner. While California VC 20002 does not require drivers to exchange insurance information, a separate section of the Vehicle Code, California VC 16025, requires this. Violation of California VC 16025 is an infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $250. Finally, any collision involving more the $750.00 worth of damage needs to be reported to the DMV and if not reported could cause the required party to lose their license.
California Hit and Run offenses can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If the hit and run involve other people with injuries the charge may be upgraded to felony Hit and Run pursuant California Vehicle Code Section 20001.
Convictions under California Vehicle Code Section 20002 can carry sentences of up to six months in jail, three years of summary probation, restitution to cover the damages caused and additional court-imposed fines and fees. Additionally, the California Department of Motor Vehicle assesses two points to the driving record of an individual convicted of misdemeanor hit and run.
Here are five important things you should know about being charged with CVC 20002 or CVC 20001 hit and run charges:
1. You could be charged with hit and run even if the accident was not your fault.
It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident involving either property damage or injury without providing your contact information to the other driver. This law applies regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This means that even if you think that the other driver was at fault, the law requires you to immediately stop and provide your contact information to the other driver before you leave the scene of the accident.
2. You could be charged with felony hit and run even if the only person injured was your passenger.
Vehicle Code 20001 applies even if the only person injured in the accident was your own passenger. Therefore, even if you believe that there were no injuries suffered by the other driver or his passengers, you could still face felony charges if you leave the scene of the accident without providing your contact info if there were injured passengers in your vehicle.
3. You may be justified in leaving the scene of the accident if you are leaving to seek necessary medical attention for yourself or someone else.
There are certain bona fide emergencies that can legitimately justify the driver’s failure to leave the scene of an accident without immediately stopping and providing contact information to the other driver. You may be justified in leaving the scene of the accident if you are leaving in order to seek necessary medical attention for yourself or someone else.
4. You can be charged with misdemeanor hit and run even if there was no vehicle damage.
Vehicle Code 20002 applies accidents that involve any kind of property damage. This damage need not include damage to another vehicle. Any type of property damage can trigger the statute, including damage to a fence, a mailbox, or another person’s pet.
5. You may be able to resolve a misdemeanor hit and run case with a civil compromise.
Penal Code 1377 provides that certain misdemeanor offenses, such as hit and run involving an accident with property damage, can be resolved with a civil settlement in lieu of criminal punishment. If the other driver agrees to this solution, you may be spared harsh punishments such as probation or even jail time.
Our attorneys have dismissed hundreds of cases with alleged charges of California Vehicle Code 20002 commonly known as Hit and Run. Contact us for an immediate consultation, time is of the essence in these cases, especially during the investigative stages of the offense.
The information contained on this website regarding California traffic tickets, speeding tickets, and traffic citations is not a substitute for
individual legal consultation. Contact CrushMyTicket.com today for a free evaluation of your ticket. If we believe you have a strong case, we will go to court for you so you don’t have to miss work or school, and we will fight the ticket for you.
ALSO SEE: Car Accident
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