Hit and Run

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San Diego Hit and Run Attorney

San Diego Hit and Run AttorneyA hit and run in San Diego can result in extremely serious charges, either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. One of the primary reasons people flee the scene of an accident in California is because they have been drinking, and don’t want to face the penalties for a San Diego DUI as well as the penalties for the accident. A felony hit and run which causes injury, permanent, serious injury, or death will be charged under California Vehicle Code, Section 20001

A misdemeanor hit and run, causing property damage or injury, will be charged under California Vehicle Code, Section 20002. If you have caused injury to another person, your San Diego hit and run is what is known as a “wobbler,” meaning the charge against you could be a misdemeanor hit and run or a felony hit and run. In most cases, how you are charged will depend on how serious the injuries to the other person are, and on whether you have a prior criminal record. If you are being charged with this crime, call San Diego hit and run attorney Vikas Bajaj today for a free consultation.

California Penalties for a Hit and Run Conviction

The penalties for a San Diego hit and run are fairly harsh, including:

For a conviction for a San Diego misdemeanor hit and run with property damage, you face the following penalties:

  • As much as one year in jail;
  • A fine of $1,000, or
  • Both jail time and a fine.

For a conviction for a San Diego felony hit and run with injury, you face the following penalties:

  • As much as three years in jail;
  • A minimum fine of $1,000 up to a maximum fine of $10,000 or
  • Both jail time and a fine.

For a conviction for a San Diego misdemeanor hit and run with serious bodily injury or death, you face the following penalties:

  • A minimum sentence of 90 days in jail;
  • A maximum sentence of one year in jail;
  • A minimum fine of $1,000;
  • A maximum fine of $10,000, or
  • Both jail time and a fine.

For a conviction for a San Diego felony hit and run with serious bodily injury or death, you face the following penalties:

  • From 2-4 years in California state prison;
  • Fines from $1,000 to $10,000, or
  • Both a prison sentence and a fine.

Additionally:

  • You may be required to pay restitution to the victims of your hit and run accident;
  • Counseling classes and probation will likely follow a felony hit and run conviction;
  • Leaving an accident scene after committing vehicular manslaughter could result in an additional five years in prison as an enhanced sentence;
  • The California DMV will add a minimum of two points to your driving record if you are convicted of a hit and run;
  • It is a near-certainty that your vehicle insurance provider will raise your rates to a level which may make them unaffordable, or they may cancel your insurance altogether;
  • If you were at fault in the accident, those whose property was damaged can sue you;
  • Anyone injured in the accident can sue you if you are found to be at fault, and
  • If your hit and run caused the death of another person, you can be sued civilly by the family of the victim.

What are the Elements of a San Diego Hit and Run?

In order to be found guilty of a hit and run causing injury or death, the following must be proven by the prosecutor:

  • You were driving, and you were involved in a vehicle accident while driving;
  • The accident you were involved in resulted in the death or serious injury of another person;
  • You were aware you were involved in an accident which caused serious injury or death to another person;
  • Despite that awareness, you willfully failed to: 1) stop at the scene 2) show identifying information to a police officer at the scene or another person at the scene, 3) provide reasonable assistance to injured parties 4) provide the person struck with your name, current address and vehicle registration or 5) with no unnecessary delay, notify the police or the California Highway Patrol.

Potential Defenses to Your Hit and Run Charges

Of course, the defense your San Diego criminal defense attorney uses on your behalf will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Some of the more common defenses include the following:

  • You were mistakenly identified as the driver of the vehicle;
  • You provided assistance to those injured following the accident;
  • You left the scene, but it was not willfully, but accidentally—i.e., you were unaware others were seriously injured;
  • You were threatened by the other driver or passenger, causing you to fear for your own life, so you left the scene for safety’s sake;
  • There was another cause of death or serious bodily injury other than the accident;
  • The other person in the accident is exaggerating the circumstances; or
  • There was no real property damage or injury as a result of the accident.

Call San Diego Hit and Run Attorney Vikas Bajaj Today

It is extremely important that you speak to a knowledgeable San Diego criminal lawyer if you are charged with a hit and run, but if you are charged with DUI and a hit and run, it is even more important. Time is of the essence, and the sooner your attorney is on the case, the better your chances for a more positive outcome.