A hit-and-run is a crime involving a vehicular accident where the driver leaves the scene without properly stopping to identify him/herself to the other driver or the police.
Under California Vehicle Code 20002 V.C., you can be prosecuted for a hit-and-run if you allegedly: (a) knowingly fled the scene of a car accident that caused only property damage and not injury; (b) failed to immediately stop after the accident; or (c) failed to provide your name and contact information to the owner of the other vehicle or property you allegedly struck.
There are two types of hit-and-run crimes: one that involves property damage only (for example, striking a parked car), and one that involves injury or death (for example, you allegedly injured the other driver).
If there is property damage only, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. If there is injury or even death, you will prosecuted for a “felony Hit-and-Run” under California Vehicle Code 20001 V.C., California Vehicle Code 20003 V.C., and California Vehicle Code 20004 V.C.
Notwithstanding the “felony” term, the District Attorney has discretion to charge an injury case as a “wobbler” offense, meaning as a felony or a misdemeanor. The prosecutor will decide based on a number of factors, including: your prior criminal record (if any), the severity of the accident, your driving record (e.g., you were driving on a suspended license), whether you were intoxicated, and other relevant facts.
Examples of Hit-and-Run situations include the following:
To prove that you are guilty of a Hit-and-Run under California Vehicle Code 20002 V.C., the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements (as required by the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions CALCRIM 2150):
To prove that you are guilty of a Hit-and-Run under California Vehicle Code 20001 V.C., California Vehicle Code 20003 V.C., and California Vehicle Code 20004 V.C., the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements (as required by the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions CALCRIM 2140):
If you are convicted of a Hit-and-Run charge under California Vehicle Code 20002 V.C., California Vehicle Code 20001 V.C., California Vehicle Code 20003 V.C., or California Vehicle Code 20004 V.C., you face the following punishment (excluding any sentencing enhancements):
For misdemeanors, the judge may also agree to a civil compromise under California Penal Code 1377 P.C. & California Penal Code 1378 P.C. if the victim only seeks reimbursement for the property damage, as opposed to wanting to criminally prosecute you. If this occurs, the judge will dismiss the case if you fully reimburse the victim. The judge may agree to this civil compromise even if the prosecutor objects.
Finally, if you are a first-time offender (felony or misdemeanor), you may also be eligible for diversion, in which case you plead guilty but formal sentencing is postponed to allow you the opportunity to pay restitution, complete community service, and/or complete whatever other conditions the court imposes. Upon successful completion, your guilty plea will be withdrawn and the case will be dismissed.
Burglary cases can often be resolved during the investigation stage even before criminal charges are actually filed. Specifically, a highly experienced and skilled Los Angeles County Burglary attorney like Ninaz Saffari might be able to convince the investigating detective to not refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, or to convince the D.A.’s Office not to file charges if the case has already been referred. These are called Pre-Files, which Ms. Saffari has a great deal of experience in successfully negotiating. See her Case Results.
If you are charged with Burglary, Ms. Saffari will first conduct a thorough investigation, often with the help of her private investigator, to ascertain all relevant facts. Again, if possible, she will attempt to get the charges dismissed either before or shortly after they are filed. If she takes the case to trial, she will often use an expert witness who will argue that the alleged harm never occurred, did not occur to the degree claimed, occurred but was the result of an accident or unintentional conduct, or that the District Attorney has otherwise failed to provide enough evidence to meet the high threshold to prove Burglary.
The following are the possible defenses to a Hit-and-Run charge:
Since 2005, Ninaz Saffari has successfully represented hundreds of clients against Hit-and-Run charges, including accidents involving both property-only damage, accidents involving injury, and even accidents involving death. See her Case Results.--
If you or a loved one are currently being investigated or prosecuted for this crime, it is critical that you immediately hire a highly skilled, aggressive and experienced Los Angeles County Hit-and-Run criminal defense attorney like Ninaz Saffari. Contact the Saffari Law Firm, P.C. now for a free telephone consultation. If Ms. Saffari believes she can help you, she will immediately schedule a free in-person meeting or, if you are in custody, she will visit you in jail (again, for free and with no obligation to hire her).
Representing All Of Los Angeles County including:
Downtown Criminal Courts Building
Van Nuys Courthouse
San Fernando Courthouse
Long Beach Courthouse