What Is Needed to Prove a Hit and Run
“Hit and run” is a phrase that is often used broadly to describe a wide range of actions. Most often, a hit and run refers to a situation in which a vehicle hits a person, object, or another vehicle, and the driver knowingly flees the scene, failing to provide their information. Although it has become a versatile household phrase, when it comes to the legalities of a hit and run, the devil is in the details. In other words, there is specific criteria the prosecution must prove in California in order to convict you of a hit and run, such as:
- While driving, the defendant was involved in a vehicle accident.
- The accident caused damage to someone else’s property.
- The defendant knew they had been involved in an accident that caused property damage.
- The defendant willfully failed to perform one or more of the following duties: (a) To stop immediately at the scene of the accident, or (b) To provide the owner or person in control of the damaged property with their name and current residence address [and the name and addresses of the owner of the vehicle the defendant was driving].
This means that in order to be guilty of a hit and run, it must be proven that you left the scene of the accident, failed to identify yourself to those involved, and caused damage to someone else’s property. As the defendant in this case, you would benefit from proving that you either did not realize an accident occurred, that no damage occurred, or that damage only occurred to the driver’s car. You would also benefit from seeking representation from a lawyer like Brian C. Andritch who knows exactly how to argue on behalf of your hit and run case.
To get in touch with The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch and get the legal defense you need, call us today at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online.
About Hit and Run Accidents
In California, there are two types of hit and run crimes, and they can constitute either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. If you are convicted of a hit and run that violated California Vehicle Code 20002, you are considered guilty of a misdemeanor crime. The legal penalties for a crime like this include up to six months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1000. However, if the accident surrounding the hit and run resulted in a serious, permanent injury or death, the prosecutor might elect to charge a felony. If the prosecution succeeds, your prison term could be between 24 and 48 months, and fines and restitution would increase as well.
After you have been involved in a hit and run of any kind, what usually happens first is that the police will try to locate you by collecting witness statements, reviewing any nearby security footage, and patrolling the area around the scene for evidence like a broken-down vehicle. If the perpetrator of a hit and run is located, this is typically because the police were able to locate the vehicle involved in the accident and associate that vehicle with the individual responsible. At this point, the police will contact the individual they believe to be responsible for the hit and run and the investigation will continue.
The bottom line is that everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes people make the mistake of fleeing after an accident. In fact, this mistake is so common that more than one hit and run accident occurs every minute in the U.S., according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In these situations, an individual’s fight or flight instincts kick into gear and they are not thinking as clearly as they normally would. While we are, by no means, creating excuses for these actions, we do believe that those who find themselves in this tough spot need a lawyer on their side who is thinking clearly. To take that a step further, these individuals would benefit from a lawyer like Brian C. Andritch who has been providing counsel on criminal cases since 2000 and is dedicated to thoroughly researched and detailed legal strategies that help produce the best outcomes possible in criminal defense cases.
If you have been involved in a hit and run, and need to seek a criminal defense lawyer, call Brian C. Andritch at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online.