Hit and Run Accidents: Here are the Possible Consequences

The kind of charges you are likely to face following a hit-and-run accident largely depends on the damage caused. Vehicle Code section 20001 and Vehicle Code section 20002 prescribe consequences for hit-and-run accidents, with the former prescribing penalties for accidents that result in serious bodily harm or death and the latter for accidents that lead to loss or damage of property.

You may face misdemeanor charges or felony charges depending on the seriousness of the damage you caused. Hiring an attorney as soon as you are apprehended for a hit-and-run accident is always the wisest thing to do if you want to know the penalties you are up against right from the beginning of your case. Specialist Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys are in a better position to project the outcome of hit and run accident court cases than non-specialist lawyers. Also, their experience in handling similar cases will help you avoid severe punishments.

For a better understanding of the hit-and-run laws in California, here are the penalties you face for incidents surrounded by specific circumstances:

Hit and run accidents causing bodily injury

If you cause an injury to someone in a hit-and-run accident, you may face misdemeanor charges or felony charges depending on the severity of the injuries caused.

Misdemeanor violations carry the following consequences:

  • Imprisonment for up to one year
  • A fine of $1,000-$10,000
  • Both a fine and imprisonment

Felony convictions may result in:

  • A jail term of up to three years
  • A fine of $1,000-$10,000
  • Both a fine and a jail term

Hit and run accidents causing death or serious bodily injury

An injury is considered serious or permanent if it results in the permanent impairment or loss of a body part. A conviction will lead to:

  • Imprisonment for 90 days to one year
  • A fine between $1,000 and $10,000
  • Both a fine and imprisonment

Hit and run after vehicular manslaughter

Hit and run accidents after vehicular manslaughter carry an additional prison term of five years.

Hit and run accidents causing property damage

This is strictly a misdemeanor violation and may result in a jail term of six months at most, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Additional consequences

Convicts of hit and run accidents in California also get two points to their driving record. Note that if you receive four points within a span of 12 or fewer months, your driver’s license would be suspended for at least six months.

Also, you could have your insurance company raising your premiums or even canceling your coverage prematurely.

If you caused damage or loss of property, the owner of the property could file a separate lawsuit against you. It can be difficult to avoid paying the damages if you have already been found guilty of the hit and run. The same goes for if you injured someone in the accident.

A lot is at stake if you are arraigned in court for causing an accident and fleeing the scene, whether or not you believe you were at fault. But since the damage has been done, hiring an experienced attorney is the only way to avoid inflated punishments following a conviction.

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