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Is a hit-and-run a serious criminal offense?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

People respond differently to traffic collisions. Some individuals know exactly how to cope in an emergency situation. Others may panic and flee the scene.

It’s important to note that fleeing the scene of an accident in California is a criminal offense. But, how serious is this criminal offense? The answer depends on the kind of damage that was done during the collision.

Hit-and-runs resulting in property damage

Vehicles have the capability to cause significant property damage. If you hit a wall in your vehicle, then it’s likely that it will be damaged. Road signs, traffic lights and fire hydrants are commonly damaged during a collision. As long as you weren’t breaking any other laws, it’s unlikely that you’ll be charged for doing accidental damage to property. However, leaving the scene is a different matter.

The California Vehicle Code states that drivers must immediately stop at the scene of an accident. The owner of the damaged property must be provided with the relevant details, such as the driver’s name, address and registration. If the owner of the damaged property is not immediately available, drivers must file a police report and leave a note with the information mentioned above.

Collisions that involve injuries or death

It is a felony offense to flee the scene of an accident when a person has been injured or killed. Under California law, drivers must stop immediately at the scene of an accident. Pertinent information about the driver must also be supplied to law enforcement. There is an additional duty for drivers to provide reasonable assistance to those who have been injured during the collision. Failure to carry out these obligations could result in a prison sentence.

If you’re facing criminal charges in California, then it’s vital to assert your legal rights. Getting in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney will help you protect your rights and get the best possible outcome.