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Is it illegal to flee or leave the scene of an accident

Crimes that fall under the category of "hit and run" are prohibited in California under 20002 VC. In this article, we will be discussing what counts as a hit and run, how a hit and run can be avoided, and examples of situations that would be considered a hit and run.

What Is a Hit and Run Under 20002 VC?

A hit and run is when a car accident involving damages occurs and the driver(s) involved in the accident do not stop to provide necessary information. As long as no persons were injured in the accident, in California, it is only a misdemeanor to commit a hit and run with maximum fines of $1,000 and/or a six-month jail sentence. However, if a person is killed or injured, then a hit and run becomes a felony.

What Are the Legal Requirements in a Car Accident Occurs?

According to 20002 VC "The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists." It is always a good idea to stop after an accident at the nearest safe spot, even if it appears there was no damage. It is always possible that there was unseen damage or a passenger was injured.

Under 20002 VC, the following are legal requirements in incidents of car accidents.

  1. You must stop your vehicle at the closest place that is safe to do so.
  2. You must locate the other vehicle and person(s) involved in the accident.
  3. In the event that you are unable to locate the owner of the other vehicle involved in the accident, you must leave a note in a noticeable place with your address and the details of the accident.
  4. You must be able to provide your vehicle registration and license.
  5. You must also be able to provide an up to date residential address of the registered owner and driver.

According to 20002 VC, a written notice should include, "name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol."

Examples

Below are some examples of what would be considered a hit and run.

  • Crashing into someone's private property (such as a front porch) and then fleeing.
  • Running over an unoccupied bicycle and not contacting the owner or leaving a note with necessary information.

Conclusion

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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