Hit & run is a criminal offense that occurs when someone who is involved in an accident leaves the scene. If you flee the scene of an accident you may be charged with hit & run, in addition to possible additional charges. State law requires that anytime a driver is involved in an accident, he or she must stop, report the accident, and provide identification. A hit & run happens if you have an accident but leave before checking for damage and talking to the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Conviction of a hit & run may come with strong consequences.
If you have been involved in an accident and leave the scene, you may feel unsure about what to do. Many people simply leave the scene because they are afraid. Running from the situation is never the best option. Chances are that you will be caught and if you fail to turn yourself in you may face some additional charges.
It is important that you take responsibility for your actions. Even if the accident isn’t your fault, you must take action. The best option for you is to get legal representation as quickly as possible. An attorney will discuss the situation with you and assist you in going to the police to turn yourself in. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you take any steps regarding the hit & run accident.
There are some things you must do in the event of an accident in California:
- Stop to assess the damage and injuries
- Exchange driver documentation
- If the driver of the other vehicle cannot be located you must leave a note including your driver documentation
- Report the accident to local police of CHP
- If the accident involves injury or death you must also provide assistance to the injured people.
If you are afraid of what may happen as a result of the accident, consider that there will be additional charges for failing to turn yourself in. While you may not know what might happen, you can be sure that you will face additional charges by leaving the scene. The sooner you turn yourself in, the better it will be for you. Leaving the scene gives law enforcement the idea that you have done something wrong, even if you didn’t.
Driver Documentation includes the following information:
- Full name
- Driver’s License number (and state where issued)
- VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
- Insurance Information (insurance company name, policy number, phone number)
Hit & Run charges may be either misdemeanors or felonies. The way the charges are filed depends on a number of factors including how serious the accident was, injuries or deaths, damages, and past criminal background.
If you have been involved in a hit & run you should contact an attorney immediately. Your attorney will advise you of the best action to take and will defend you against any and all charges.