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Understanding the Laws of Hit and Run


Drivers who leave the scene of the accident, regardless of fault, without exchanging Their driver’s license, insurance, and registration information with the other party or parties are guilty of violating section §20002 or §20003 of the California vehicle code commonly known as a hit and run.

Hit and run cases are separated into misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor hit and run falls under section §20002 of the California Vehicle Code. This section deals with drivers leaving the scene of an accident where there is property damage or minor injury. California Vehicle Code Section 20003 deals with felony hit and runs, when a driver has left the scene of an accident without exchanging information and where the victim suffers serious injury like, fractures or internal injuries.

Potential punishment is much greater for a felony than a misdemeanor conviction. An experienced attorney may be able to work out a civil compromise with the other party by reimbursing the victim for their property damage or medical bills and agreeing to sign a document expressing their lack of interest in seeing the driver prosecuted for hit and run. A skillful hit and run attorney, like the attorneys at Hoffman & Associates, are very successful at reaching civil compromises with victims though their years of experience in negotiating such results.

An attorney can negotiate a civil compromise before or after criminal charges have been filed and it is still possible although more difficult to reach a civil compromise after a court case has been filed.

Early intervention, after an accident where you have left the scene, with the help of an experienced hit and run attorney can prevent charges from being filed. It also looks much more favorable even if charges are filed because the fleeing driver was cooperative at an early time after the accident and is seeking to fully compensate the other party in the accident.

There are a number of defenses to a hit and run charge. Such as, the driver who left did seek to exchange information by leaving a note on the other party’s car if the other party was not present. This effort satisfies the legal requirement to exchange information, because it was not possible to exchange information since the other party was not present and a reasonable effort was made.

The law requires somebody to have awareness that there was an accident and an intent to leave. Our firm recently represented a client who believed that he hit the bushes but actually also hit a pedestrian. By proving the client’s credibility and that his statements were true the attorney’s at Hoffman & Associates were able to avoid having charges filed against the client.

Very often clients say the reason they left was because it was not their fault. However, in hit and run fault is irrelevant. The act of leaving is the act of consequence. Having the protection of an experience hit and run law firm is invaluable for early intervention.