As discussed in Part One, the traffic in Los Angeles can be a nightmare, and can result in a plethora of criminal offenses. The frustration and anger that stems from driving, and from “road rage” can cause a significant impact on your life in the form of criminal consequences. Although there is no specific statute that makes road rage unlawful, there are a plethora of offenses that can stem from your actions on the road.
Hit and Run
Many times a Los Angeles Hit and Run can be an added charge on top of an assault or battery, if the driver causes injury or damage and then fails to provide proper contact information. Under California Vehicle Code 20001 and 20002, a person who causes damage to someone’s property or injury to a person, and does not stop to provide assistance or contact information, may be found guilty of a Hit and Run. This could be an additional charge on top of assault, or battery. The potential sentence will vary depending on whether there is injury to person, or damage to property and the extent of that damage or injury.
Let’s consider an example to illustrate how a Hit and Run is an additional charge. David was driving home from a friend’s birthday get together. It was late at night and he was tired after a long day of work and then socializing. On his way home he came across a traffic jam on the freeway due to construction and was forced to go 10mph. After about an hour of the traffic, David was frustrated and angry and just wanted to get home and go to sleep. David decided to swerve onto the shoulder of the highway and drive to the next exit. A construction worker was standing on the shoulder holding a sign and gesturing for David to get back onto the freeway. Not caring, David zoomed towards the shoulder, causing the construction worker to get scraped by his car as he drove by.
David would be charged with possible a battery because he caused injury to the construction worker, possible assault as he attempted to injure the worker, and hit and run because he caused injury and failed to stop the vehicle and administer aid if necessary.
Under California Penal Code 422 any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally… is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety shall be charged with a criminal offense. This is a significant consequence of road rage. A person who has been convicted of a criminal threat faces up to one year in county jail and/or in prison.
A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving and may be charged under California Vehicle Code 23103 and 23014. This is very common in a road rage situation and can result in criminal consequences of county jail or prison depending on the extent of the injuries.
As discussed, there are plenty of criminal consequences to road rage actions. If you are facing criminal charges due to your actions on the road, do not hesitate, immediately consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney.