What Is a Hit and Run?
Under California Vehicle Code Sections 20001 and 20002, a person is guilty of a hit and run if he:
- Leaves the scene of an accident
- Fails to identify himself to the other involved parties
- Damages property or injures another person
Hit and runs can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the accident only caused property damage, then it is classified as a misdemeanor. If the accident caused injury or death to another person, then it becomes a felony, regardless of how serious the accident was or who was at fault.
In order to avoid a hit and run conviction, it is important that you stay at the scene of the accident until law enforcement arrives. Furthermore, there are strict reporting requirements that you must meet if you are involved in a vehicle collision. If you do not follow these requirements, you may be facing thousands of dollars in fines and years of jail time.
Reporting a Hit and Run to the Police
If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should stop immediately. If you do not stop, you may be convicted of a hit and run. After a collision, you should follow these steps:
- Move your vehicle to the side or off the street or highway.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately to report the collision to the police or California Highway Patrol. Be ready to show your driver’s license, vehicle registration, evidence of financial responsibility, and current address to the police and other involved parties.
- If you hit a parked vehicle or other property, try to find the owner. If you cannot find the owner, leave a note with your name and address securely attached to the property. Then report the collision to the police.
- If anyone is injured or killed and law enforcement was not present at the scene, report the collision in writing to the police immediately. If you are physically unable to do so, another occupant in the vehicle can do so on your behalf.
Reporting a Hit and Run to the DMV
In addition to reporting to the police, you or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative must report the collision to the DMV by completing a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1). The SR 1 report must be completed and sent to the DMV within 10 days if someone was injured or killed, or if there was property damage over $1000. This is the case no matter how serious the injuries were, whether you caused the collision, or even if the collision occurred on private property.
If you do not complete the SR 1 form or did not have proper insurance coverage at the time of the accident, your driving privileges may be suspended. All vehicle collisions reported to the DMV by law enforcement will show on your driving record unless the officer states that another person was at fault. Furthermore, unless the officer indicates on file that another person was at fault, all vehicle collisions reported by you or another party in the collision will show on your driving record if anyone is injured or there is property damage over $1000.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you have been involved in a vehicle collision, contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of cases, and we have the skills and resources to secure the best outcome for you.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.