HIT AND RUN – VC 20002(a)
Hit and run is a very common charge in criminal court. Hit and Run, VC 20002(a) is a type of hit and run in which nobody was injured, so it is a misdemeanor. Oftentimes, people flee the scene because they panic or because they are undocumented and are afraid of immigration consequences.
Elements of Hit and Run, VC 20002(a)
- The defendant was driving a motor vehicle when an accident occurred resulting in property damage, including to vehicles, that did not belong to the defendant
- The defendant either knew that an accident occurred or that an accident probably occurred
- The defendant did not stop immediately to properly provide identification
NOTE: If the other vehicle is a parked vehicle, a note needs to be left. So, just because the other vehicle was parked doesn’t mean that a driver can simply drive away.
A conviction of Hit and Run, VC 20002(a), carries a maximum jail sentence of 6 months in county jail.
Defenses Against Hit and Run, VC 20002(a)
- You were not the driver.
Keep in mind that in cases of Hit and Run, the suspect was FLEEING the scene, which means that many people, including witnesses, did not get a good look at the suspect. This means that some people DO get misidentified as the person who was involved in the accident when they may not have even been there.
2. You did pull over to exchange information.
Sometimes, a person pulls over to provide identification but the other party didn’t notice or the other party already took off. For instance, let’s say Sarah was involved in a car accident with Bill. At the scene, there are cars driving by at very fast speeds and Sarah was looking for a safe place before she could pull over. Bill mistakenly thinks that Sarah had already taken off.
3. There was actually no damage to any property.
Keep in mind that one of the elements of Hit and Run, VC 20002(a), is that there was property damage to another party’s property. If there was no damage to another person’s property, there is no need to stop and exchange information.
4. You did not know there had been an accident and there was nothing that would have caused a reasonable person to think it was probable for another person’s property to be damaged, so you did not think there was a probability that property had been damaged.
Let’s say you are driving and there was an accident of some kind, but there was barely any sound and you didn’t feel anything strange, and the average person would not have felt or heard anything strange either. In this situation, element 1 is not satisfied because you didn’t know there was an accident and you didn’t think that there was a probability that property had been damaged. Oftentimes, we drive on the road and hear strange noises but those noises are far from accidents, so we have no reason to think that any property had been damaged.
There are numerous defenses to Hit and Run, VC 20002(a), because nobody ever truly knows the mindset of the driver. Oftentimes, an accusation of Hit and Run could be the result of a misunderstanding if one party believes it is perfectly safe to pull over and exchange information while the other party believes it is too dangerous to immediately stop. Whatever the reason, our firm fights Hit and Run, VC 20002(a), cases very aggressively. We are experienced and will seek all available defenses in your criminal case. We are located in Orange County but also serve LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, and all of southern California. We can conduct business with our clients both in person and remotely. Our phone number is 213-235-7969 and we look forward to discussing your case with you.