Beverly Hills Hit And Run
A typical automobile accident in Beverly Hills can result in criminal charges if the driver attempts to flee the scene of the accident instead of stopping as required by California’s hit and run laws. The reason that someone would flee the scene of an accident can be numerous, however it is often the case that the driver is trying to avoid being charged with a Beverly Hills DUI or DUI with injury offense.
In Beverly Hills, someone can be charged with misdemeanor hit and run pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 20002 VC or hit and run as a felony under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 VC. Although widely called felony hit and run, California Vehicle Code Section 20001 VC is actually considered a "wobbler" that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor hit and run offenses under Section 20002 would apply when the hit and run accident involves property damage. "Felony" hit and run charges are applicable when the underlying collision of the hit and run caused harm to another person. Regardless of whether the charge is a felony or misdemeanor, the prosecution would be handled by the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
For misdemeanor hit and run offenses in Beverly Hills, the property that is damaged is usually another driver's car, however it can also be houses, signs, fences, mailboxes, bicycles and animals. It is not illegal per se to get in a car accident. However, after the accident the driver is required by law to stop and provide certain contact information to the other driver or party involved. If the other party is not present, such as when someone hits a parked car, the driver is required to leave their information in a place where it would be easily found. Upon request, a driver must show their license, registration information or proof of insurance. Additionally, if the driver does not own the vehicle involved in the collision, that driver must provide the owner's information. If someone is injured as a result of the collision, the driver is required to render assistance, such as calling 911.
A conviction for misdemeanor Beverly Hills hit and run can carry a sentence of six months in jail, costly court fines, restitution to the victim and any other conditions of probation the court may apply. If someone dies or is injured as a result of the underlying accident in a felony hit and run offense, the court can impose a sentence of up to four years in prison. The DMV adds two points to the licenses of those who are convicted of hit and run.
There are a number of defenses available to those charged with hit and run offenses in Beverly Hills, depending on the factual circumstances. If there was no damage whatsoever as a result of the collision, or the alleged hit and driver sustained the entirety of the damage, that person is entitled to leave without providing information. However, drivers should be wary of doing this, as they may not be aware of the extent of damage they cause. To be charged with hit and run as either a felony or a misdemeanor, the driver must intentionally leave the scene of the accident. There may be situations in which a person does not realize he or she was even involved in a traffic collision, and thus drive away without realizing it. In these situations, the driver may be able to argue that his or her "fleeing" was unintentional and thus not criminal. There might also be situations in which a driver involved in accident must leave the scene because they have a reasonable and legitimate fear for their own safety. This would be the case if the other driver becomes belligerent and starts attacking the first driver. In these cases, the driver fleeing would have a legitimate duress defense if charged with hit and run. It is important to remember that the fact the driver may not be at fault or the fact that damages are minor is not a defense to hit and run in Beverly Hills.
If you or a loved one are dealing with hit and run allegations in Beverly Hills, it is very important that you consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Beverly Hills criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your options. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of experience prosecuting cases, Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is highly respected throughout the Beverly Hills legal community for his skills as a litigator and his legal acumen. Mr. Kraut works tirelessly on behalf of his clients to ensure their rights under the law are not violated.
For more information about Beverly Hills Hit and Run, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 660B, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-3220. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 310-550-6935.