Find out about the negative impact of California Vehicle Codes 20001 and 20002 and learn how to protect your rights if you are charged with violating these laws.
CVC 20001: Felony Hit and Run Violations
California Vehicle Code 20001 pertains to instances where a driver leaves the scene of an accident which causes injury to or death of another person. The law requires the motorist to stop at the scene of the accident and provide the required information to law enforcement. If no officer is at the scene, the driver must report the incident to the California Highway Patrol or local sheriff or police department.
CVC 20002: Misdemeanor Hit And Run
California Vehicle Code 20002 applies to situations where a driver leaves the scene of an accident that causes any type of property damage, whether to a vehicle, building, or other property. Motorists are required to stop at a location that does not disrupt traffic or cause a safety issue for other people on the road. CVC 20002 further states that if the driver of the damaged vehicle or owner of the other damaged property is not available at the scene, the driver that caused the accident should:
- Leave a note with their name and address in a conspicuous location where the other person can find it, and
- Immediately report the incident to the proper law enforcement authority.
Penalties for Violating California Hit and Run Laws
Any person who violates CVC 20001 can be charged with a felony, while a violation of CVC 20002 can result in misdemeanor charges.
- Misdemeanor hit and run violations are subject to fines up to $1,000. For felony hit and run violations, the fine can range from $1,000 to $10,000.
- Both felony and misdemeanor hit and run can result in jail time. Misdemeanor charges can result in a sentence of up to six months in a county jail. Felony charges carry longer a longer sentence of as much as two to four years in a state prison.
What If I Receive a Traffic Ticket or Citation?
Even if you receive a ticket or citation because of an accident, you still have the right to either pay the fine or contest it in court.
You should take note of the accident scene and conditions to help determine if you did, in fact, leave the scene of the accident. If you moved your vehicle off the road or to a safe location, make note of the distance between the accident scene and where you stopped your vehicle. If you left your information on an empty vehicle or other property, remember exactly where you put the information.
When possible, take a photo of the scene and any notices you leave. Also remember to note the exact date and time of the accident as well as when you made a report, if no officer was present at the scene.
Defending a Hit and Run Citation
There are several defenses you and your attorney can use to help to reduce the penalties of hit and run violations. Here are the most common.
- No officer was at the scene after waiting a reasonable amount of time.
- Road conditions require moving away from the scene for safety.
- Traffic signs were not clearly visible.
In some cases, speeding can be deemed necessary to avoid an accident or further damages.
How to Protect Yourself from Hit and Run Penalties
Get an attorney that has experience and expertise in California traffic law violations. Choose a legal professional that can represent you in criminal traffic court as well as represent you in civil court against the other driver’s legal counsel. Contacting a lawyer before you face charges can help you to retain your driving privileges, minimize fines and court fees, and avoid jail time.
Contact us today and let us handle your traffic ticket. We have over 25 years of experience handling traffic violations including CVC 20001 and CVC 20002.
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