If you have been arrested for a Hit and Run, you could be charged under one of two statutes: California Vehicle Code §20002, and California Vehicle Code §20003. California Vehicle Code §20002 refers to cases in which there is damage to property, and California Vehicle Code §20003 refers to cases in which there is an injury to person.
Each statute outlines a range of potential consequences. It will not give a specific consequence because the sentence will depend on several factors. The court will take into consideration the person’s criminal background and the facts of the case. They will also consider the extent of the damage or injuries.
Under California Vehicle Code §20002, when there is damage to property, a person who is found guilty will be charged of a misdemeanor, and may be punished by imprisonment in county jail up to six months and/or a fine not exceeding $1,000.00.
When there is an injury to person, the possible consequences are a little more complicated. If there is a death or permanent injury, the person faces imprisonment in state prison from 2 to 4 years, or in county jail for not less than ninety days to a year. The person may also face a fine from $1,000.00 to $10,000.00. If the injury is anything other than death or permanent injury, then potential consequences will range from up to one year in county jail, and/or a fine from $1,000.00 to $10,000.00. It is important to note that a Hit and Run can also result in civil liabilities, if the owner of the damaged property or the victim opts to bring a claim for reimbursement.
The fact that there is a range of circumstances leaves much room for skillful negotiation and argument. An experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer has represented hundreds of hit and run cases, and has successfully argued down potential sentences.
Let’s consider several examples to better illustrate how sentencing works.
Dina has been driving home from work on a dark and rainy night. She knows that she should pull over until the rain dies down but she is in a rush to get home and continues on her way. She does not see the fence in front of her and ends up hitting the fence causing it to fall down. She leaves a note on the door of the house and heads home. Unbeknownst to Dina, the note flies away and the owner never gets her information. As a result, Dina is arrested for Hit and Run. Dina will be charged under the code section pertaining to damage to property, California Vehicle Code §20002. Dina’s attorney will argue on her behalf that Dina made efforts to provide her information, and that the damage was minimal. Accordingly, the sentence should be on the lower end of the spectrum.
If you are being charged with a Hit and Run, the best thing you can do for yourself is immediately hire an experienced Hit and Run lawyer. They will work for you to reduce the sentence as much as possible.