Under California law, every driver involved in an accident has to stay at the scene. Of course, there are some situations where you can leave the scene. For example, if you’re driving and hit a parked car and there’s no one present, you can leave a note before leaving the scene and contacting police and your insurance. But, more serious situations where a person has been hit and a driver leaves the scene is a crime.
The Golden State is especially tough on hit and run drivers. California Vehicle Code 20002 and 20003 outline stiff penalties for leaving the scene of an accident. Hit and run situations where property is damages is usually charged as a misdemeanor. If a person if injured or dies in the accident, the hit and run driver can face felony charges.
California Hit and Run Statistics
Hit and run accidents are a problem in California, especially in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department reports about 20,000 hit and run crashes each year. Here are some hit and run statistics from the California Highway Patrol:
- About 11 percent of all police reported crashes involve a driver leaving the scene
- 1,500 people are killed in hit and run crashes each year
- About 60 percent of hit and run accident victims are pedestrians
- Almost 20 percent of pedestrian deaths are related to hit and run accidents
- Hit and run accidents represent 10 percent of all fatal injury accidents
Hit and Run Punishments in California
In California, leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. Leaving the scene of an accident where someone is injured can put you in jail up to a year. And a hit and run accident puts 2 points on your California DMV driving record (which will increase your insurance rates a lot).
According to California Vehicle Code 16025, drivers involved in collisions have to exchange the following information:
- Driver’s license information
- Vehicle ID number
- Insurance information
Failing to exchange the information outlined in California Vehicle Code 16025 can lead to a ticket and a $250 fine.
Contact an Experienced Hit and Run Attorney
Criminal Defense Incorporated has helped many people and their families impacted by a hit and run accident. We’ve fought many hit and run drivers and their insurance. We can do the same for you. Hold hit and run drivers accountable. Call us today at (800) 458-1488.