Hit-and-run accidents can happen in a moment’s notice, with drivers often panicking in split second decisions or even being completely unaware of their involvement in an incident. However, the repercussions can last a lifetime when convicted of committing such a crime.
If you have been charged with a hit-and-run, do not believe that the prosecution and the court will immediately believe your side of the story and show you leniency. Those accused of such crimes are often prosecuted to the full extent of the law in an effort to make them an example.
Through a free consultation with David A. Stein at (949) 445-0040, you can better understand your legal options and the charges that have been brought against you. The legal team at the Law Offices of David A. Stein is not only dedicated to protecting the rights of those charged with hit-and-run crimes, they have the experience and success needed to aid you in your defense.
Felonies vs. Misdemeanors
Depending on the circumstances of the alleged hit-and-run accident, defendants may be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor Hit and Run
Under California Vehicle Code Section 20002, a person who is involved in a hit-and-run accident that causes only property damage can be charged with a misdemeanor crime. If found guilty, you may be sentenced to jail for up to six months, fined a maximum of $1,000 or subject to both imprisonment and a fine.
Felony Hit and Run
Under California Vehicle Code Section 20001, a person involved in an injury-causing or fatal hit-and-run collision is eligible for a felony criminal charge. Accidents that cause minor injuries can be punished by a maximum of one year in jail or state prison and/or a fine between $1,000 and $10,000. Should the hit-and-run result in a person’s death or permanent serious injury, the driver can be punished by two, three, or four years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
Additionally, defendants who are fleeing the scene of a crime and cause a serious injury or fatality in a hit-and-run crash can be punished by an additional five years being added to the sentence imposed by the court for the related crime.
Hit-and-run crashes do not only have to involve a vehicle driven by the defendant. If a person’s vehicle becomes a runaway and causes a crash that he or she does not claim responsibility for, it can be charged as a hit-and-run.
The Effects of a Hit and Run on a Driving Record
Hit-and-run accidents do not only have legal repercussions upon conviction, they can also seriously impede a defendant’s ability to drive. Under California Vehicle Code Section 13201, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a driver’s license for up to six months in the event of a misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run conviction.
Also, being convicted of a hit-and-run accident will add two points to a driver’s record. The presence of these points will cause an increase in insurance costs and put a driver at risk of losing his or her license. A driver will only lose his or her license if they receive four points in 12 months, six points in 24 months, or eight points in 36 months. However it is possible that other factors involved in the crash will be given points, such as speeding, resulting in enough to revoke a license.
Quality Representation You Deserve
There’s no denying the tragedy of a hit-and-run crash, but those wrongfully punished for such incidents can suffer just as much harm as those injured in a crash. Get in touch with David Stein today by calling (949) 445-0040. A free consultation will help you to better understand how you can defend against a hit-and-run charge and the legal representation of the team at the Law Offices of David A. Stein can protect you from charges that can harm you and your loved ones for years to come. Do not wait to get in touch with us, the sooner a defense can be created, the better your chances of protecting your rights in court.