Car accidents are usually related to civil liability, which includes discussions over compensation and insurance rates. However, some cases, like hit-and-run accidents, can lead to criminal charges. Although, this can greatly depend on your state’s traffic laws. This leads to the question: is a hit-and-run a felony in California?
Generally, hit-and-run is a criminal offense due to the crime committed after the accident. Read on to learn more about a hit-and-run felony and what you should know to win your case.
Is A Hit-And-Run A Felony Or Misdemeanor?
A hit-and-run accident can become a felony or misdemeanor based on the damages caused by the incident in accordance with state laws. For instance, California puts the distinction based on serious bodily harm. As its general rule, a hit-and-run is a misdemeanor if it causes property damage. However, it becomes a felony if it causes physical injury to another person. Take note that these distinctions can vary depending on the severity and other factors of the accident.
What Makes A Hit-And-Run A Felony?
In some states, a hit-and-run can become a felony from a misdemeanor because of property damages incurred from the accident. Also, the conviction and penalties can increase depending on how bad the injuries are.
In California, fleeing the scene can potentially make the hit-and-run both a misdemeanor and felony. This can happen if it caused injury and property damage. If it only caused property damage, it’s generally a misdemeanor. If the hit-and-run caused injury, it can either be a misdemeanor or felony based on the details of the case. However, permanent or serious injuries, as well as fatalities, can make a hit-and-run a felony.
What Is A DUI Hit-And-Run?
The usual hit-and-run accident happens when the at-fault driver flees the scene after causing property damage, physical harm to other parties, or a combination of both. However, different elements of the incident can change or add to the incident. For instance, at-fault drivers might’ve fled because they’re uninsured or they want to avoid other penalties. Some drunk drivers might run to avoid arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). If authorities catch the at-fault driver for both DUI and hit-and-run, they will charge for both offenses. This means they need to face penalties for both based on the circumstances of the accident. Also, DUI hit-and-run cases usually have significantly heavier consequences, depending on the judge’s decision.
Is A DUI Hit-And-Run A Felony?
Similar to a hit-and-run, a DUI can usually be dealt with as a misdemeanor, but it can become a felony depending on the situation. Some factors, including prior DUI convictions, injuries, or fatalities can turn a DUI into a felony. Either way, a DUI hit-and-run combination can mean that the at-fault driver will face more serious penalties. This can happen because the at-fault driver will be charged for both offenses.
Hit-And-Run Felony Penalties and Consequences
Minor hit-and-run charges might be dealt with as a misdemeanor. However, a felony can come with worse penalties and consequences. Hit-and-run felony offenses can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- $5,000 to $20,000 worth of fines
- incarceration, usually for a hit-and-run felony
- Up to 15 years of jail time
- Administrative sanctions by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Civil penalties (including punitive damages and/or treble damages)
These penalties can change. Sometimes, an at-fault driver can face felony or misdemeanor charges as well as civil lawsuits filed by other parties involved in the incident.
Get a Lawyer for Your Hit-And-Run Accident
If you suffered an injury in a hit-and-run accident, you most likely will need help with complicated legalities and procedures. Getting a hit-and-run lawyer can ease the anxiety of taking care of legalities, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. An attorney can also help you navigate through your case. A legal professional can help determine the best options for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
If you’re searching for top hit-and-run attorneys, Jacoby and Meyers is your ultimate destination. Our team consists of highly skilled personal injury lawyers specializing in auto accidents and hit-and-run cases in California, covering areas such as Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Sacramento. By hiring one of our experienced car accident lawyers, you can ensure that justice is served. Our legal experts will also provide valuable insights into complex matters, including car accident settlements and more. Additionally, they can assist you with the following:
- Establishing negligence
- Assessing the cost of damages
- Developing a robust claim
- Negotiating a settlement
- Meeting crucial deadlines
Choose Jacoby and Meyers for exceptional hit-and-run legal representation that prioritizes your rights and interests.
Give us a call today at 888-960-0480 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you.