El Dorado County Hit and Run – Can be Felony or Misdemeanor

A Hit and Run offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Hit and Run with property damage only is charged as a misdemeanor.  Hit and Run with injuries is a “wobbler” offense and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.   

First Court Date

After you are released from jail, you are given a court date for your arraignment.  Arraignment is where the government tells you the charges and potential punishment you face. In felony cases, you must appear in person to your arraignment or a warrant will be issued.  In misdemeanor cases, your attorney can appear for you. 

After Felony Arraignment

 If you are charged with a felony, after felony arraignment, your Felony case will be set for a preliminary hearing where the DA must present witnesses to support the charges against you.  Prior to the preliminary hearing, a pre-preliminary hearing is usually set which allows settlement negotiations between your attorney, the court, and the DA to occur.      

Preliminary Hearings

A preliminary hearing is a proceeding to determine whether, and to what extent, criminal charges will be heard by the court.  Should the court decide that there is probable cause, a formal charging instrument will issue; and the prosecution will continue. If the court finds that there is no probable cause, then typically the prosecution will end.  If a judge determines that there is sufficient evidence to believe that the defendant committed the crime, it is said that the defendant is “held to answer”.  After a defendant is held to answer, the judge will set a date for arraignment. A new pleading is filed with the court and the defendant can enter a plea at his or her arraignment date.  At the new arraignment, a trial date is usually set. 

Hit and Run Property Damage only (VC20002) –Owner found 

Any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in property damage shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists and shall: (1) locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and current address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved, (2) locate the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, (3) and upon  request, present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.

Hit and Run Property Damage only (VC20002) – Owner Not found 

Any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in property damage only shall leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

Hit and Run Property Damage only (VC20002) – Punishment   

Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of VC20002 is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Accident Reporting

Any driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.   Under the law, a driver involved in an accident must provide to the injured persons and any police officer at the scene of the accident the (1) drivers name, current address, (2) names and current addresses of any injured occupants, (3) registration number of the vehicle, (3) name and current residence address of the vehicle owner.   

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Requirement to Render Aid 

Any driver involved in an accident is required to render reasonable assistance to any inured person including transporting, or making arrangements to transport, any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if that transportation is requested by any injured person.

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Required to Report to Police   

In any accident where there is no police officer at the scene and there is a death due to the accident, the driver is required to without delay, report the accident to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol or office of a duly authorized police authority and submit with the report the information required by Section 20003.

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Misdemeanor Punishment

Any person who fails to provide the required information or render aid shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year and by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). 

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Felony with Probation

Any person who fails to provide the required information or render aid shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year and a fine not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).  Under some circumstances, if the accident results in death or permanent, serious injury, the punishment may be not less than 90 days nor more than one year.  “Permanent, serious injury” means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.  The court, in the interests of justice, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required.  In imposing the minimum fine, the court shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required.

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Felony State Prison Sentence

Any person who fails to provide the required information or render aid shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, 2 or 3 years and with a fine not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).  If the accident results in death or permanent, serious injury, the punishment shall be 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison.  “Permanent, serious injury” means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.  The court, in the interests of justice, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required.  In imposing the minimum fine, the court shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required.

Hit and Run with Injury (VC20001) – Felony Enhancement 

A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation of Section 191.5 of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the state prison.  The court shall not strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision.

Felony Hit and Run with Probation Granted

In a felony hit and run cases, you may be eligible for felony probation instead of prison.  The maximum punishment with probation is up to 1 year in jail.   To determine if you are eligible the court will look to California Rule of Court section 4.414 which lists the probation eligibility factors:

  • Seriousness and circumstances of the crime compared with similar crimes
  • If defendant was armed
  • Vulnerability of the victim
  • Degree of monetary loss to the victim
  • If crime was carried out in a criminally sophisticated manner
  • Defendant’s prior record, as an adult or juvenile
  • Defendant’s willingness to comply with terms of probation
  • Likely effect of imprisonment on the defendant and his/her dependents

Felony Probation Consequences

You can still go to prison if you violate probation up to the maximum sentence of 3 years for a felony hit and run.  You must pay for felony probation supervision which can cost thousands of dollars.  Felony probation restricts your travel out of the state unless you get your probation officers permission.  It also only allows you to move to another jurisdiction or state if the other jurisdiction or state accepts your probation transfer.  You will be required to keep and maintain employment and participate in counseling if required by probation.    

Alternative Sentencing

In most felony hit and run cases, the court will require you to do either all or a portion of your sentence in actual jail.  In some cases, this means no alternative sentencing in others maybe a combination of jail and alternative sentencing.  Most misdemeanor cases you can do alternative sentencing.  If the court allows you to apply for alternative sentencing, you can complete it by doing El Dorado County Sheriff Work Project or El Dorado County Probation Home Electronic Monitoring.  You may even negotiate to get credit for any in patient rehab treatment you completed.     

Violating Hit and Run Probation

You will be in violation of probation if you fail to comply with the court ordered probation terms including staying in contact with your probation officer, failing to enroll/complete classes, complete AA or community service requirements, appear in court when ordered, or completing your jail sentence.  If probation is violated, the judge will issue a bench warrant which will be sent to law enforcement.  You will then be arrested and brought back to court to answer for the violation of probation.  In felony cases, a no bail warrant could be issued which means you are stuck in jail until the outcome of your probation violation case.    

Hit and Run Expungement

Even if you are convicted of a hit and run, you can still get your case expunged.  A felony hit and run is a wobbler that can be reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunged.  An expungement allows you to lawfully answer that you have never been convicted of a crime.  To be eligible, you must have successfully completed probation, paid all your fines and fees, and completed the terms of your probation.   

You don’t have to Plead guilty   

Because you have so much to lose you need the most experienced and aggressive Hit and Run defense attorneys on your side.  Whether it’s defending you in trial or negotiating for dismissal, you can count on us.  Our experienced and aggressive negotiating efforts usually result in better outcomes for our clients including reduced charges, lesser jail days, and smaller fines.  Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 or (530) 621-1800 to speak directly to an attorney about your hit and run case.  We are open 24/7/365 to answer your questions.       

Vehicle Code  20001 – Hit & Run with injury

(a) The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.

(b) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

(2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.

(3) In imposing the minimum fine required by this subdivision, the court shall take into consideration the defendant’s ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required by this subdivision.

(c) A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation of Section 191.5 of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code, upon conviction of any of those sections, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the state prison. This additional term shall not be imposed unless the allegation is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted by the defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. The court shall not strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision.

(d) As used in this section, “permanent, serious injury” means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.

Vehicle Code  20002 – Hit & Run Property Damage Only

(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:

(1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver’s license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.

(2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

(b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.

(c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

VC20003 – Reporting Requirements

(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall also give his or her name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and shall give the information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident. The driver also shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting, or making arrangements for transporting, any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if that transportation is requested by any injured person.

(b) Any driver or injured occupant of a driver’s vehicle subject to the provisions of subdivision (a) shall also, upon being requested, exhibit his or her driver’s license, if available, or, in the case of an injured occupant, any other available identification, to the person struck or to the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.

VC20004 – Reporting Requirements

In the event of death of any person resulting from an accident, the driver of any vehicle involved after fulfilling the requirements of this division, and if there be no traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident to whom to give the information required by Section 20003, shall, without delay, report the accident to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol or office of a duly authorized police authority and submit with the report the information required by Section 20003.