Los Angeles Hit and Run Attorneys
We are contacted frequently regarding hit and run incidents that occur in Southern California. There are crowded freeways and traffic and accidents occur frequently. At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, our attorneys help drivers navigate criminal charges incurred from hit and run accidents. If you’ve been accused of leaving the scene of an accident, immediately address the problem by obtaining great representation. We can assist you in defending criminal charges successfully and we have 90% of our hit and run cases completely dismissed. We have an unmatched record of success with these cases.
Quick action can reduce the likelihood that charges will be filed. Regardless of the stage of your case, our hit and run attorneys know the LA justice system inside and out.
What to Do When a Hit and Run Occurs
In most cases, we can intervene before law enforcement involves the prosecuting agency, and we can advise them to hold off on contacting the prosecutor. And even though the process is much more difficult once the court case is filed, we maintain high rates of dismissals with hit and run cases filed in court.
Why Are Hit and Runs Common in LA?
There are various reasons a person may leave the scene of an accident, including lack of car insurance, criminal warrants pending, immigration concerns about deportation, or trying to hide alcohol and drug impairment from the police. The most common reason we hear from our clients is that they simply panicked and left the scene. It is a common fight or flight response to a very stressful and scary situation.
The hit and run lawyers at our firm understand that people may make mistakes, and they do not deserve to have their lives and careers destroyed by a momentary lapse in judgement. We are here to help.
California Hit and Run Law
Under California law, a person is required to stop and call for help and/or exchange information with drivers, property owners, and anyone else involved in a hit and run incident. Hit and run laws can be considered felonies or misdemeanors, according to California Vehicle Code 20001 and Code 20002.
We work with the local authorities, often resolving such hit and run issues and preventing them from turning into criminal charges. Suppose a person is involved in an accident and leaves the scene of that accident without providing identifying information, such as their driver’s license and vehicle registration. In that case, that person can be convicted of a misdemeanor hit and run.
Being charged could result in a sentence of up to six months in the county jail, a fine of up to $1000, and additional penalties.
If the hit and run involves bodily injury, a person can be convicted of a felony with a punishment of up to three years in state prison. Suppose the injury is considered to be a “great bodily injury” such as broken bones, lacerations, or internal bleeding. In that case, the maximum jail time can double or triple, depending on how many people are injured.
Under “reasonable duty of care,” the law expects a person to ensure the safety of others when driving. If a collision does occur, the severity of the damage or injury can result in a felony hit and run charge. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 20001, any accident that results in a serious or permanent injury to someone else or a fatality must stop to provide aid or call for help from first responders. This can be exacerbated by other factors, including whether or not you were operating the vehicle while impaired or if you were operating the vehicle while unlicensed.
Even when no injuries have occurred during a hit and run, you may still be charged with a misdemeanor hit and run. You are required to either stop and provide your name and information to the owner of the property or provide that information in a conspicuous location. This includes the driver’s name and address. If prompted, the owner of the vehicle must also provide their driver’s license and registration information. The local police department or highway patrol must be notified. There are several mitigating factors in terms of the length of the penalties, as well as what conditions must be met for the district attorney’s office to seek either a misdemeanor or felony charge.
California Hit and Run Penalties
If you have been charged with misdemeanor hit and run, penalties may include:
- Receiving two points on your license
- Up to six months in county jail
- Up to $1,000 in fines
If you have been charged with a felony hit and run, penalties may include:
- Receiving two points on your license
- A minimum of two years with a maximum of four years in county jail
- Up to $10,000 in fines
The significance of these penalties is one reason to consider our legal team. Prosecutors may push your case as a felony when it should be a misdemeanor. We will negotiate with the district attorney or the judge regarding the severity of the hit and run case.
Consequences of a Hit and Run in Los Angeles
In addition to the penalties listed above, if you have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, you may face other criminal or civil consequences. The district attorney might charge you with an additional offense if you were alleged to be driving under the influence or driving while distracted. However, you may also face civil liability if the other person decides to file a lawsuit against you for personal injury or property damage reasons.
Common Types of Hit and Runs
Our criminal defense lawyers have defended clients involved in various forms of hit and run accidents. Most types of collisions resulting in charges of hit and run in Los Angeles fall into three categories:
- Property damage: You left the roadway and hit a telephone pole, parked vehicle, or other object and caused some level of harm.
- Injury to another person: This can involve a driver in a vehicle striking a pedestrian like a jogger or pedestrian in a crosswalk.
- Both injury and property damage: These are primarily vehicular accidents, where both the other vehicle requires repair, and the person operating it is hurt.
Defenses for a Los Angeles Hit and Run Case
Our team will provide the best possible defense against charges of a felony or a misdemeanor hit and run by utilizing case-specific evidence. We use our own private investigators to build a winning defense. Possible defenses include:
- The defendant was not operating the vehicle during the time of the collision;
- The defendant was not aware that property damage had occurred; and/or
- Only the defendant’s vehicle and property were damaged during the incident.
You are not responsible for damage caused by incidents where someone else was using your vehicle. When a law enforcement officer cannot demonstrate evidence that you were the driver, you may be able to dismiss either a felony or a misdemeanor charge from a hit and run.
Contact Our Hit and Run Lawyers in Los Angeles Today
Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a serious crime in California. At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, we have successfully defended over 250 hit and run charges. If you have been accused of a hit and run, call us at (310) 935-3100 for a free consultation regarding the incident.
Hit and Run Attorneys in Los Angeles, CA
Highly-Rated Hit and Run Lawyers in LA