A hit and run is an automobile accident where one party flees the scene without leaving contact information. In California, a driver involved in a traffic accident is required to stop and remain at the accident scene. Any driver who flees the scene without proving contact information or identifying themselves, can be charged with hit and run.

When Can I Be Charged with Hit and Run?

When involved in an accident, the responsible driver must stay at the scene or be charged with hit and run:

  • When someone was injured
  • When someone was killed
  • When the driver hit a person or animal
  • When the driver causes damages other than to a vehicle
  • When there’s property damage to a vehicle
  • When the car the driver hit was either parked or moving

Can I Be Charge with Felony Hit and Run?

Yes. Typically, a hit and run is a misdemeanor but it can be upgraded to a felony. A person can be charged with a felony hit and run when someone is injured or killed and the person knew or should have known the death/injury occurred. But the person injured cannot be the same person who caused the accident.

A felony hit and run is a wobbler in California. A wobbler means a prosecutor has discretion to try the charge as a felony or a misdemeanor.

Can I Be Charged with Felony Hit and Run If I Wasn’t at Fault?

Yes. The law applies to every driver regardless of:

  • The damage
  • Who was at fault
  • The seriousness of the injury

What is the Punishment for Misdemeanor Hit and Run?

A misdemeanor hit and run is punishable with less than 1 year in jail.

What Is The Punishment for Felony Hit and Run?

Felony hit and run is punishable with a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and up to 3 years in prison. It can result in 4 years in prison if there was a death or a serious injury.

Should I Contact a Criminal Lawyer about My Hit and Run Charge?

Yes. It’s in your best interest to contact a California traffic violation lawyer to discuss possible hit and run defenses.