California Vehicle Code §20001 outlines the range of potential consequences for a person who has been convicted of a felony hit and run. The legislative provides a range, and it is up to the Prosecutor and the Judge to determine an appropriate sentence for each individual. In doing so, the Prosecutor will consider the person’s criminal history and the specific facts of the case.
A hit and run will be charged as a felony when there is injury to a person. The extent of that injury will be a powerful factor in the Judge’s final sentence. The more severe the injury, the higher penalty the sentence will entail. Accordingly, the less severe the injury, the lesser the sentence.
A person who has been charged with felony hit and run for the first time faces up to a year in county jail and a fine ranging from $1000 to $10,000.
The statute recognizes more serious bodily injury that results in death or permanent damage. Drivers who are convicted in a case of hit and run where the person injured suffered death or permanent damage will face 90 days to a year in County Jail, 2 to 4 years in State prison, and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
Let’s consider two different situations. In Scenario A, Dan is driving home and is exhausted. He falls asleep at the wheel momentarily and hits Victor who is out taking a stroll. Victor’s is struck at high impact and becomes paralyzed from the neck down. Dan realizing he has hit someone, wakes up and takes off without offering help or leaving information.
In scenario B, Dan is driving home and very tired. He falls asleep at the wheel momentarily and ends up hitting Victor. However, Dan is going slowly as he has taken his foot off the gas pedal and is rolling down the street. When he strikes Victor, Victor only suffers a sprain in his leg and some bruising. Dan aware that he has hit someone gives Victor his contact information but fails to ask Victor if he needs a ride to the hospital.
In scenario A, Dan is likely to be given a higher jail sentence closer to 4 years in State prison and will be likely paying a fine as well. The injury caused to Victor is severe and will result in a lifetime of consequences. In comparison, scenario B, not only was there minimal injury to Victor, but Dan left his contact information. Although he failed to offer medical attention, it seemed that it might not have been necessary. The Court will give Dan in scenario B a lower sentence, possible with minimal to no jail time. With the right powerful argument from an experienced Los Angeles Hit and Run attorney, the court may even dismiss the case and reduce it due to the fact that Dan did adequately leave his contact information.