Is Contact Required for a Los Angeles Hit and Run?

In order to be convicted of a Los Angeles Hit and Run under California Vehicle Code §20001- 20004, Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) there was damage to property and/or injury to person AND 2) the person who caused the damage to property or injury must have fled the scene without leaving any contact information.

Proving one element beyond a reasonable doubt will not be sufficient to find someone guilty of a Hit and Run. For example, let’s say that Danielle was driving home from work one night. She could not see too well due to the foggy and rainy weather, as a result she hit a fence. Danielle immediately stopped and spoke to the owner of the fence about making amends and fixing the damage.

Under this current fact pattern, Danielle cannot be found guilty of a Hit and Run because she stopped and spoke to the owners about making amends. Prosecutors will not be able to demonstrate that Danielle fled the scene , and therefore if Danielle is charged, the charges will have to be dismissed.

It is possible to be charged with a Hit and Run without ever having had any contact with another person or another person’s property. If your actions caused another to be involved in an accident, that resulted in damages or injury to another, and you failed to stop and provide aid or leave contact information, you can still be charged with a Hit and Run.

Let’s consider an example. Dina is driving home from work on night. It is late, the sun has already set and it is raining. Dina is in a rush to get home to make dinner and help her kids with their homework. In her stress, Dina almost misses her exit. She changes lanes last minute and make it in time. What Dina is not aware of is that in her rush to change lanes last minute, another car had to quickly change lanes to avoid Dina hitting him, and in so doing, he rear ended another car.

This is a Hit and Run, even though Dina did not actually have any contact with anyone else that resulted in damage to property or injury. Her actions caused another person to cause damage. Dina should have stopped and addressed the situation.

The fact that Dina was not even aware of the accident does not make a difference in terms of a Hit and Run. Under the California Vehicle Code she can be charged. Dina’s best bet would be to hire a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer, how has handled hundreds of no contact cases. The legal professional can prepare a strong argument and defenses so that the best case may be presented to the Judge. After hearing evidence from both sides, and skillful presentations as to Dina’s lack of any knowledge of an accident, the Judge may reconsider the charges. If you find yourself in a situation similar to this, do not take a risk on your future, contact an experienced, knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible .