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If you are a driver who is involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in serious bodily injury, death, or property damage, state law requires you to follow certain protocols, including stopping at the scene of the accident. Violating these protocols can subject you to prosecution for hit and run offenses, which can have severe consequences. Contacting an Oakland hit and run lawyer if you are accused of any of these offenses may be highly advantageous to you.

A conviction for fleeing the scene of an accident could result in incarceration, high fines, and a criminal conviction on your record. It could also affect your family, job, and freedom. An experienced defense attorney could protect your rights and improve your chances of a positive resolution.

Types of Hit and Run Offenses

Vehicle wrecks often involve two types of damages: bodily harm and property damage. There are different laws regarding the protocol a person must follow depending on whether injury or property damage resulted.

Bodily Harm or Death

California Vehicle Code § 20001 requires drivers who are involved in accidents that result in injuries or death to another to stop at the scene of the accident and perform certain duties. Failure to fulfill these requirements can result in criminal charges for a hit and run and other associated crimes such as vehicular manslaughter.

Not only must the drivers involved in these collisions stop at the scene, but under § 20003, they must give specific identifying and other pertinent information to the other parties involved and law enforcement officials. They must also provide reasonable assistance to any injured persons, including calling an ambulance.

In the event of a fatal accident, § 20004 requires the drivers of any vehicles involved in the accident to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency right away. Failing to stop at the scene of these accidents or provide the necessary information can result in serious consequences and necessitate the assistance of a hit and run attorney in Oakland.

Property Damage

Under California Vehicle Code § 20002, drivers commit a misdemeanor offense if they leave the scene of an accident involving only property damage. More precisely, drivers are required not only to stop at the scene of these accidents but also to:

  • Locate or notify the owners of the vehicle or other damaged property and provide them with specific contact and license information for the driver and vehicle owner
  • Leave a written notice of the incident on the damaged vehicle or property and immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency

Individuals who commit this offense can face a county jail sentence of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

What are the Penalties for Fleeing the Scene of an Accident?

Drivers who leave the scene of an accident resulting in injury can face up to one year in the county jail or 16 months to three years in state prison, a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, or both. Furthermore, if the hit and run accident results in death or permanent serious injury to another, individuals may face the following sentence:

  • Confinement in state prison for two to four years,
  • Incarceration in county prison for a period ranging from a minimum of 90 days to a maximum of one year
  • A fine of $1,000 to $10,000

When a court determines the appropriate fine for this offense, it must consider the ability of the individuals to pay the fine. As a result, the court can reduce the fine to below the minimum of $1,000 if needed.

Permanent serious injury, as used in this section, refers to the permanent loss or impairment of a bodily organ or member. If the incident involved vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or committing an unlawful act amounting to gross negligence, the individuals could face a consecutive and additional five years in state prison as a conduct enhancement.

Talk to an Oakland Hit and Run Attorney for Advice Today

Contacting an Oakland hit and run lawyer as quickly as possible can be beneficial to you in many ways. You may reach a better result by enlisting the support of legal counsel from the outset of your case. Taking this step may help you avoid an arrest, the mandatory posting of bail, and the general stress and anxiety that often comes with criminal proceedings. Schedule your case consultation today.

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