A San Diego man has been arrested on felony hit and run charges after leaving the scene of an accident. According to reports, the man struck and seriously injured 32-year-old pedestrian as he was crossing N. Magnolia Avenue in Santee. The man immediately fled the scene, but did return after the police the EMTs arrived. He was promptly placed under arrest by police.
You Must Stay at the Scene of an Accident in San Diego
If you’re involved in an accident in San Diego you have to stay put. You can’t leave the scene, even if you weren’t to blame or there isn’t any noticeable damage. Leaving the scene, even temporarily, can result in criminal hit and run charges.
California law not only requires that you stay at the scene of an accident, but also imposes some responsibilities. You must:
- Exchange insurance information with other drivers/victims
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone who was injured in the crash,
- Transport victims to a hospital, if necessary.
It becomes your responsibility to do what you can to help anyone injured in the accident. Ignoring this requirement can have criminal consequences.
Hit and Run Charges in San Diego
A hit and run occurs when you knowingly leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident. The crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Hit and Run Causing Property Damage
A hit and run is a misdemeanor, as defined in Vehicle Code 20002 VC, when the accident causes property damage, but no physical injuries or death.
A hit and run involving only property damage is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in a San Diego jail.
Hit and Run Causing Injury or Death
A hit and run that involves an injury or death is known as “felony hit and run.” You can be charged with felony hit and run, as defined in Vehicle Code 20001 VC, even if you weren’t aware that anyone was harmed in the crash. Prosecutors will point out that you have an obligation to stop, regardless of how bad the accident was. If you stopped, they’ll argue, you would have realized that an injury or death had occurred.
Contrary to its name, felony hit and run can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony hit and run charged as a misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of 12 months in a San Diego County Jail and $10,00 in fines.
A felony hit and run charged as a felony carries up to three years in a California State Prison.
Fatal Hit and Run Crashes May Trigger Additional Charges
If the Santee pedestrian does not survive his injuries, the driver may face other criminal charges in addition to those for the hit and run. Specifically, the driver may be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter for his role in the pedestrian’s death.
Gross vehicular manslaughter, as defined in Penal Code 192 PC, means that another person was killed because you were driving with gross negligence. Gross negligence involves a wanton and reckless disregard for the safety of others. Examples of gross negligence can include speeding, running stop signs or traffic signals, or driving on the wrong side of the road.
In California, gross vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to six years behind bars. If you’re convicted of both felony hit and run and gross vehicular manslaughter, the court can add an additional 5 years on your sentence.