Like most criminal offenses, the potential consequences for a Los Angeles Hit and Run are on a spectrum. The reason the potential sentence can vary is because the court will take into account the person’s criminal background as well as the facts of the case before issuing a sentence. No two cases are completely identical, and giving a sentence that is identical would not be fair. Therefore, a sentence is issued based upon each individual case, and statutory guidelines.
There are two levels of a Hit and Run. There is a hit and run in which property is damaged, and there is a Hit and Run in which a person is injured. When there is property damage, the charge can be a misdemeanor, unless there is significant damage. When a person has been injured, it will likely be charged as felony.
For misdemeanor Hit and Run cases, a conviction can lead to a sentence anywhere between a fine of up to $1,000.00, an up to six months in jail. It is likely that restitution will also be included. To better understand how a Judge will issue a sentence, we will consider two different scenarios.
Danny is driving home from work on a dark and foggy evening. He is having trouble seeing in front of him, and it has just started raining. While Danny is driving home, he realizes that he needs to pull over and adjust his lights so that he is able to see. When Danny pulls over, he does not see the small tree in front of him and ends up hitting it, causing the tree to tip over. The tree is in someone’s front year. Danny immediately tries to knock on the home owner’s door, but no one opens the door. He then leaves his name and number on the front door. Unbeknownst to Danny, the rain knocks the information away. Danny is found a day later and arrested for Hit and Run. Danny has no prior criminal history.
Danny has as potential defense available to him. He did not neglect to leave information, he just did not realize that the information was destroyed by the rain. If Danny is convicted, it is likely that he will be asked to pay for the cost and planting of a new tree, and a minimal fine to the Court. It does not seem that he will be doing any jail time, as there was no injury and he has no prior criminal history.
Don on the other hand is driving home from happy hour with his friends. Don has had a few drinks and is driving home at night. It is a dark night, but it is not windy or rainy. Don accidentally misses his turn and drives up into someone’s fence, causing the entire fence to come crashing down onto the front porch. Afraid that he will get arrested for a DUI, Don takes off. Don has a prior DUI on his record, from three years before.
Don is going to be charged with a possible DUI, along with the Hit and Run. Don also may be facing a probation violation. The Judge is likely to issue a higher sentence on Don because he has priors, many charges, and he made no attempts to rectify the situation. Don may or may not face Judge charges, but it is likely that he will have to pay a high fine, and restitution to the homeowner.
If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to consult a Los Angeles Hit and Run Lawyer immediately!