Hit and Run Law & Defense
VC 20001 & 20002
Information regarding the crimes of hit and run with property damage or injury are found at California Vehicle Code sections 20001 & 20002.
Hit and Run Law
Hit and run with injury is usually charged under VC 20001, whereas hit and run with property damage is charged under VC 20002.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of VC 20001, hit and run with injury, the prosecutor must prove that:
- The defendant was driving a vehicle that was involved in an accident
- The accident caused serious injury or death
- The defendant failed to immediately stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident, provide reasonable assistance to persons injured and provide identifying information.
To immediately stop means to stop the vehicle as soon as reasonably safe to do so under the circumstances.
To provide reasonable assistance means to do all reasonable things under the circumstances to provide medical assistance if any injured person is not already being assisted. This include providing transportation for any victim if that is reasonable under the circumstances.
On hit and run cases it does not matter who caused the accident. The duty to provide reasonable assistance is on the defendant even if the defendant did not cause the accident.
To prove that the defendant is guilty of VC 20002, hit and run with property damage, the prosecutor must prove that:
- The defendant was driving a vehicle that was involved in a vehicle accident
- The accident caused damage to someone else's property
- The defendant knew, or probably knew, that the accident caused property damage
- Defendant willfully failed to either immediately stop at the scene of the accident, or contact police
In hit and run with property damage cases, the driver may provide the required information by finding the owner and giving that person the information directly, or by leaving the information in a written note in a conspicuous place on the damaged vehicle or property. The driver must then notify the police department of that city where the accident happened (VC 20002(a)).
Sentence for VC 20001 & 20002
Hit and run with injury may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Hit and run with property damage is charged as a misdemeanor. Below you will find common hit and run charges with corresponding jail or prison sentences:
VC 20001(b)(1) Hit and Run with Injury. Misdemeanor or felony charges which carry a sentence up to one year in the county jail for misdemeanor charges and up to three years in prison for felony charges.
VC 20001(b)(2) Hit and Run with Injury or Death. Misdemeanor or felony charges which carry up to one year in jail for misdemeanor charges and up to four years in prison for felony charges.
VC 20001(c) Hit and Run Enhancement. A felony charge that carries up to a five year prison sentence.
VC 20002(a) Hit and Run with Property Damage. Misdemeanor charge that carries up to 180 day sentence in the county jail.
VC 20002(b) Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage. Misdemeanor crime that carries up to a 180 day county jail sentence.
In addition to any jail or prison sentencing, criminal convictions for hit and run can lead to other severe consequences such as: Immigration consequences (non-U.S. citizens), professional licensing consequences, probation, fines, lawsuits, suspension of driver's license, and firearm prohibition (firearm prohibition is ordered with any felony VC 20001 conviction).
VC 20001, hit and run with injury, is not considered a serious or violent felony as those terms are defined in California's Three Strikes Sentencing Law. If found guilty of VC 20001 or 20002(a) the defendant will be entitled to earn up to fifty percent credit good behavior credit while in jail or prison. Additionally, hit and run crimes may be considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means that the crime may be considered a moral wrong and may have severe negative impact on future employment prospects.
In some hit and run cases it may be possible to have the charges reduced, changed, or dismissed depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant's criminal history. Probation or suspended sentences without jail or prison may also be considered.
Defenses to VC 20001 and 20002(a)
Common defenses to hit and run charges include: Intoxication, mistake of fact (did not reasonably know that property or injury occurred to another person), statute of limitations, insufficient evidence to prove who was driving the vehicle, alibi, coerced confession, and more.
If you have been charged with hit and run involving injury or property damage, or vehicle code 20001 or 20002, contact our experienced and successful criminal defense lawyers to learn your rights and options without delay.
Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of misdemeanor and felony crimes, including hit and run crimes. There is no charge for an initial consultation and our attorneys are available to answer your questions all day, everyday. Call today!
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Hit and Run: VC 20001 & 20002
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VC 20001(a) & 20002(a): Hit & Run Crimes
- VC 20001(b)(1) Hit and Run with Injury (Misdemeanor or felony charges which carry a sentence up to one year in the county jail for misdemeanor charges and up to three years in prison for felony charges)
- VC 20001(b)(2) Hit and Run with Injury or Death (Misdemeanor or felony charges which carry up to one year in jail for misdemeanor charges and up to four years in prison for felony charges)
- VC 20001(c) Hit and Run Enhancement Charge (A felony charge that carries up to a five year prison sentence)
- VC 20002(a) Hit and Run with Property Damage (Misdemeanor charge that carries up to 180 day sentence in the county jail)
- VC 20002(b) Runaway Vehicle Causing Property Damage (Misdemeanor crime that carries up to a 180 day county jail sentence)
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San Bernardino County
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VC 20001 & 20002(a) HIt and Run
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- Domestic Violence
- Drunk in Public
- Elder Theft
- False Personation
- Hit and Run
- Indecent Exposure
- Lewd Acts
- Vehicle Theft
- Welfare Fraud