Can You Be Still Be Charged With Hit and Run If You Return to the Scene of the Accident?
This is a good question because this happens all the time in hit and run cases throughout the San Fernando Valley and that is, people get in some sort of an accident, they will leave for some reason or another — maybe they don’t have insurance; maybe they don’t have a valid license; or they don’t even realize that they were involved in an accident because of the circumstances — and then they end up going back to the scene.
Technically, when you get in an accident you have to stop and exchange information with the other side. Meaning, you have to give them your insurance, your name, your phone number, and then you’re good to go. You don’t necessarily have to wait for the police to get to every accident scene. That’s not very realistic. California Vehicle Code 20002 covers misdemeanor hit and run charges, while Vehicle Code 20001 cover felony charges.
Did You Have a Valid Reason to Leave the Scene?
But if you leave the scene of an accident, that technically is a hit and run. So, even if you come back, you still technically have been involved in a hit and run accident and you could be charged with a crime. However, if you have a reason for leaving the scene, or if not much time passed, you may be okay. The police and/or prosecutor just may not deal with a case like that.
I’ve had a lot of cases where people get involved in an accident with somebody and the other party comes out irate, screaming, yelling, threatening, so that causes them to leave the scene. The only problem with that is if you just leave the scene and never go back and don’t make any phone calls that’s a hit and run.
You can’t do that because then it’s going to be your word against their word as to whether or not they did anything wrong or you just fled the scene because you didn’t want to get in trouble for hitting somebody else’s car.
Where you would be covered is if you left the scene because you were under attack and you called 9-1-1 and you reported the accident and said, I just got in an accident. You say where the location is. You give your information.
You say the other party is dangerous and I’m in fear that I’m going to be physically assaulted. You’d be good then, because now they can track you. I’m not seeing the prosecutors filing that case against you.
But I have had cases where people have gone back to the scene of an accident minutes or even hours later and depending on how bad the accident was sometimes there’s still people at that accident scene and I’ve had my clients get arrested and charged with a hit and run for doing that.
Specific Circumstances Why You left the Scene Matter
So, it just depends on the circumstances as to why you left in the first place, and when you go back there is there anybody there and can you explain why you left in the first place. The whole purpose of the hit and run law is if you damage somebody else’s property, they can get your information and they could be compensated for that, either through the criminal system if it’s a hit and run or civilly.
They could get their insurance company involved and your insurance company involved or they could sue you if you improperly damage their property. So, if you come back to the scene and they’re able to get all that information, then it could be a situation of no harm/no foul and the prosecutors don’t charge you with a criminal hit and run.
But again, just technically leaving the scene of the crime is just a matter of sometimes they don’t file every single case that is a crime in the San Fernando Valley courthouses.
Experienced Hit and Run Defense Lawyer
So, if you’ve got a hit and run matter and you need some help with it, either at a stage where it’s happened and the authorities have not got a hold of you or at the stage where they’ve sent you a letter and want you to come in, bring your car and give a statement, or they sent you a letter and they want you to appear in court because you’ve been charged with a hit and run, or you’ve been arrested or cited into court for a hit and run, pick up the phone, make the call.
I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years — hundreds of hit and run cases on accidents that have occurred in the San Fernando Valley — so, I’m definitely the guy to go to to help guide you through a sometimes difficult process.
Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436
Categorised in: Hit and Run