There are two types of hit and run offenses in California: misdemeanor and felony.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run
You can be charged with a misdemeanor for a hit and run if you leave the scene of an accident:
Without first identifying yourself to the other party or parties involved, and
Another’s property was damaged in the accident.
The difference between a hit and run misdemeanor and felony is based on injury.
Felony Hit and Run
You can be charged with a felony if someone other than yourself was injured or killed.
Hit and Run Penalties
If you are charged with a misdemeanor hit and run then you face paying a fine up to $1,000 or serving a sentence up to 6 months but no longer than 1 year in a county jail.
If you are charged with a felony hit and run, meaning that someone other than yourself was killed or was seriously physically injured, the penalties include a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, and up to 3 to 4 years in a California state prison.
Legal Defenses for Hit and Run
An experienced California hit and run defense attorney can be useful in finding legal defenses for a hit and run charge. Legal defenses for a misdemeanor hit and run charge that could lead to an acquittal include:
Only your own car was damaged.
You didn’t realize that you’d been involved in an accident, or that someone else’s property was damaged.
It was actually someone else, not you, who had been involved in the accident.
Being charged with a felony hit and run is a very serious charge. It’s important to have an experienced defense attorney to represent you and use legal defenses to try to reduce your charges. The most common legal defenses used for a felony hit and run include:
You weren’t the one driving your car in the accident.
You didn’t know that an accident had occurred or that anyone had been injured.
You didn’t willfully leave the scene or fail to identify yourself after the accident.