In recent months, we have seen an influx of hit-and-run accidents in Southern California. Incidents have ranged from small car dents to death. When you are in an accident, of any caliber, you are required by law to stop. The Accidents Report division of California Law states that all persons in an accident must:
- Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property they hit, even if damage is minimal.
- Present his or her driver’s license, and vehicle registration.
If you do decide to flee the scene of the accident, that becomes a crime. Hit-and-run accidents do not become ‘out of sight, out of mind’. In fact, the repercussions of the accident increase exponentially. Below are the various ways in which you may be charged with a hit-and-run violation. They range in fines, jail time and more.
A misdemeanor hit-and-run charge is the most basic form of a hit-and-run conviction you can receive. Misdemeanor hit-and-run consequences:
- Imprisonment for up to six months; or
- A fine up to $1,000; or
- Both of the above
A felony hit-and-run charge is a hit-and-run conviction in which someone was injured or killed at the scene of the accident. Felony hit-and-run consequences:
- Up to four years in prison; or
- A fine up to $10,000; or
- Both of the above
If you caused a death during a cycling accident and you fled the scene of the crime, then you may be charged with an increased amount of jail time and/or increased fines.
While California is working vigorously toward roadway systems that suit both motor-vehicles and cyclists, pedestrians and other forms of transportation such as scooters, there is still much to be done. When you are in an accident, no matter how minor, always, always stop and make sure that no serious damage was done. If and when serious damage did occur, or if anyone is injured, do not flee. There are cameras and witnesses everywhere nowadays, and when you are caught, the penalties will be much worse than being late to the meeting you were rushing to.
If you have been involved in, or were the cause of, a hit-and-run accident, give us a call today. Pattenaude Law Firm is experienced in all cases related to cycling. We have worked on dog-bite cases, road debris cases, hit-and-run cases and more. When you or a loved one needs guidance on a cycling accident in the Southern California area, contact our offices to set up a consultation.