Hit and Run
If you were involved in an accident in California, the entire experience can be frightening, confusing, and highly stressful. With this in mind, it is not surprising why people panic and make the split decision to flee the scene of an accident. While this behavior can sometimes be understandable, it is still against the law in California. Specifically, California law requires people involved in an accident resulting in property damage and/or injuries to stop, render aid, and exchange necessary information. If you fail to do so, you could face criminal charges, such as a misdemeanor under Vehicle Code Section 20002 if only property damages are involved. Felony hit and run charges may also be imposed pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 20001 should someone sustain bodily injury.
In the event that you are facing hit and run charges, or you were arrested or are under investigation for this offense, do not discuss your case with anyone (i.e., police, prosecutors). Anything you say and do can be used against you, so assert your right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present before questioning can continue. Also consult with a San Diego hit and run defense lawyer as soon as possible, as it may make the difference between jail time and your freedom.
At The Law Offices of David M. Boertje, our seasoned criminal defense attorneys will take all measures necessary to fight for your legal rights and win. This involves conducting a thorough background of the evidence in your case, securing witnesses, and aggressively representing you in court. Otherwise stated, our legal professionals do anything and everything to win your case, and ensure that your constitutional rights are protected from day one. To schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation, you can call our San Diego office at (619) 229 1870, or reach us at our North County location in Carlsbad at (760) 476 0901.Felony Hit and Run
California law imposes a number of duties on drivers who are involved in an accident resulting in injuries. These include the following:
- Immediately stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident;
- Provide “reasonable assistance” to those injured as a result of the accident;
- Exchange necessary contact information with the other driver, including your name, address, vehicle registration number, and the name and address of the owners of the vehicles involved in the accident; and
- Notify the California Highway Patrol or local law enforcement if someone sustained fatal injuries in the crash.
Keep in mind that if you fail to perform any of the above measures after a crash, you could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor hit and run, even if you were not at fault. Also consider the fact that rendering “reasonable assistance” involves calling 911 to secure medical assistance and transportation for injury victims, who may include pedestrians, passengers and drivers.Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Under California law, a conviction for a misdemeanor hit and run accident is only successful if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were involved in an accident and knew or should have known that property damages occurred.There are Hit and Run Defenses Available
Hit and run accidents are serious, and can have permanent legal consequences, such as jail time, harsh monetary fines, and a permanent criminal record. That is why is it is crucial to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling these complex and often challenging cases.
- Lack of knowledge of an accident, injury and/or property damage Plenty of people find themselves being charged with a hit and run accident without even knowing they were involved in one. This can easily happen if you are driving an SUV and bump into a smaller vehicle, such as a Smart Car or other small type of vehicle. Moreover, if the other driver and/or his passengers indicate that they are not injured at the scene of the accident, you could raise the defense that you had no knowledge of injuries warranting involvement by emergency personnel.
- No property damage If you were in an accident and only your car sustained damages, you cannot be convicted of a hit and run. The only damage warranting you to stop and exchange information is if the accident caused damage to another’s property, whether a vehicle or a commercial or residential property.
- Stolen or borrowed car If someone else was driving your vehicle (whether stolen or borrowed) and caused a hit and run accident, you could raise this defense on your behalf. The only way you can be convicted of a hit and run is if you are driving the offending vehicle, or were a passenger in a vehicle that you knew had fled the scene.
If you are facing hit and run charges in San Diego or the North County area, it is crucial to hire a qualified lawyer to represent you. Contact The Law Offices of David M. Boertje today to learn more about how we will fight hard for your rights and protect your legal interests. Through our efforts, our team of legal professionals will provide you with the best chance to either have your charges reduced or dropped completely. To schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation with one of our seasoned hit and run defense lawyers, feel free to call our downtown San Diego office at (619) 229 1870. You can also reach us at our North County location in Carlsbad at (760) 476 0901, or online. We look forward to providing you with superior criminal defense representation.