Is Lack of Knowledge a Valid Defense in a Los Angeles Hit and Run like Amanda Bynes?

On May 4, 2012, young actress Amanda Bynes sideswiped a car as she was making her way through Hollywood. Bynes continued to keep driving, even after the hit car signaled for her to pull over. The alleged victims reported the incident to officers who followed in pursuit of Bynes in six squad cars and a police helicopter.

The young starlet has previously been arrested for driving under the influence and has evaded an officer while being cited for driving while using her cell phone. All these incidents added together do not seem to look favorably upon her driving privileges.

The recent incident, however, was not filed as a hit and run. After questioning the young driver, she admitted that she had not even realized she hit a car and therefore had no knowledge of the incident. After surveying the damage done to the alleged victim’s car, the officers concluded that the damage was minimal enough that Ms. Bynes could have not been aware of the damage.

California Vehicle Code §20001 and 20002 makes it unlawful for a person to cause damage or injury to another person or another’s property without properly leaving contact information in order for the driver to be able to make amends for the injuries or damage caused.sCalifornia Vehicle Code §20001 describes when a hit and run will be classified as a felony, and California Vehicle Code §20002 defines when it will be a misdemeanor.

In the case of Amanda Bynes, she hit another vehicle, and therefore would be charged under CVC §20002. The statute reads:

“The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists.”

The argument made my Ms. Bynes is that she did not know she had been involved in an accident. It is a crucial component in criminal law that the person who is being charged with the crime must have had knowledge, and the requisite intent in some cases, to be charged with the unlawful behavior. If Ms. Bynes was not aware that she had damaged another driver’s vehicle, she would not know to stop and make amends or leave the information required by law.

Even before a case was filed against her, not knowing that she was involved in an altercation served as a valuable defense for the actress. If you feel that you were not aware of any damage or injury that you may hae caused and were subsequently charged with a hit and run, you may have a valid defense. Speak to a Los Angeles Hit and Run lawyer as soon as possible so that they can review the facts of your case and assess its strengths and weaknesses. A consultation may make the difference between your case being reduced or dismissed altogether.