You are late to work. As you are driving, you lose control of your car and end up hitting a mailbox. Or maybe you hit another car. Instead of stopping, you decide to leave the scene because you are late for work.
Unfortunately, deciding to leave the scene of an accident means that you can be charged with a hit and run criminal offense. This criminal offense can accompany serious fines and potential jail time. This article discusses more about hit and run offenses, why you need to take them seriously, and why you need to hire an experienced Stockton criminal defense attorney to defend the charges.
Two Types of Hit and Run Under California Law
There are two different ways you can be criminally charged for a hit and run accident under California Vehicle Codes. Vehicle Code 20001 applies to motor vehicle accidents that involve injury or death. Vehicle Code 20002 applies to motor vehicle accidents that only involve property damage.
Regardless of which charge you are facing, it can nevertheless be a serious charge, involving serious consequences. As such, it is imperative that you immediately seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
When The Accident Was Not Your Fault
Under California law, you can still be charged with a hit and run if you decide to leave the scene of an accident that was caused by another party. In other words, regardless of who caused the accident, California law requires that all parties involved in an accident to stop and exchange pertinent information (name and contact info) with the other parties.
The only time that leaving the scene of an accident may be justified is if you are leaving the scene to get immediate medical treatment that is necessary for yourself or someone else involved in the accident. In order to avoid criminal charges in such a situation, you or your attorney must be able to prove that you left the scene to seek immediate medical care.
Settling a Criminal Hit and Run In Civil Settlements
California Penal Code 1377 allows hit and run offenses to be settled in civilly, rather than through criminal punishments. However, the other driver must agree to this compromise. If both sides agree, the individual facing the hit and run charge may be spared harsh punishment, such as probation and jail time.
Call an Experienced Stockton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you care about has been arrested for a crime, it is imperative that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help protect your legal rights and ensure that you have the best defense possible to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Stockton criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.