HIT AND RUN DEFENSE ATTORNEY ORANGE COUNTY CA
Hit-and-run accidents in Orange County can happen in a split second and it is easy to make a mistake that can adversely affect the rest of your life. Hit-and-run accidents are typically seen as a malicious act by a reckless or intoxicated driver, but that is often not the case at all. It is true that in some cases of hit-and-run accidents, the driver panics after causing property damage or personal injury and flees the scene to avoid being charged with a crime. In other cases, however, the driver may be completely unaware of his or her involvement in the accident or of any resulting injuries or property damage. Unfortunately, both of these types of drivers can be convicted of hit and run and burdened with penalties that can last a lifetime. If you or a loved one is facing Orange County hit-and-run charges, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today to begin building a strong defense in your hit-and-run case.
Affordable Orange County Hit and Run Defense Lawyer
Any time you are facing criminal charges, you have the right to obtain legal counsel, and in the case of an Orange County hit-and-run accident, having a knowledgeable hit-and-run defense attorney on your side is a tremendous asset. The law can be confusing and complicated for anyone without a background in criminal defense, but a skilled criminal defense attorney will have a clear understanding of the charges against you and will know how to present the strongest possible defense in your case. At Seyb Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we will put our experience to work for you, using every resource at our disposal to get your hit-and-run charges reduced to a lesser offense or possibly even dismissed altogether. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run charges, don’t risk a life-changing conviction. By contacting our reputable criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group, you can ensure that you understand your rights under the law, as well as the consequences of the charges that have been brought against you. Contact Seyb Law Group today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Orange County Hit and Run Charges
As a driver in Orange County, you have a responsibility to drive sensibly and cautiously and you also have certain duties you are expected to perform any time you are involved in an accident. These duties are required by law and failure to fulfill these duties can result in a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor or felony offense. According to hit and run law, if you are involved in an accident in Orange County that causes property damage or injury or death to another person, you have a legal duty to stop at the scene and provide certain identifying information to the victims of the accident or to an officer on the scene. More specifically, if any property is damaged in the accident, you must:
- Pull your car over to the closest location that doesn’t jeopardize your safety or the safety of other motorists on the roadway, and
- Locate the owner or person in charge of the property and provide your name and address and the name and address of the owner of the car, if the car you were driving belongs to someone else. (If the property owner requests it, you must also provide your driver’s license and vehicle registration information).
If someone was injured or killed in the accident, you must provide the driver or occupants of the other vehicle, or any police officer on the scene with the following information:
- Your name and current address,
- The names and addresses of anyone in your car who was also injured in the accident,
- The name and current address of the owner of the car, if the car you were driving belongs to someone else, and
- The vehicle registration number.
- The law also requires that you provide reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured in the accident, if they request it.
Under Orange County law, leaving the scene of any accident after allegedly damaging someone else’s car or property or causing an injury or fatality, without stopping and providing your information or calling the police, is a criminal offense, even if you don’t believe you were at fault for the accident or the property damage or injuries didn’t appear to be serious.
Penalties for a Hit and Run Conviction in Orange County
If you have been charged with a hit and run, don’t believe for one second that the police, the prosecution or the court will see your side of the story and take it easy on you. The main objective of the police is to gather as much evidence as possible against you and the prosecutor’s job is to provide the jury with enough evidence of your alleged guilt to get a conviction and send you to jail. In Orange County, a hit-and-run accident can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. Unfortunately, those convicted of hit-and-run crimes in Orange County and the surrounding counties are often made an example of and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Orange County Misdemeanor Hit and Run Vehicle Code § 20002
Under California Vehicle Code § 20002, if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in Orange County that damages another person’s public or private property, but doesn’t cause any bodily injury, you can be charged with a misdemeanor crime. This is the case in any hit-and-run accident resulting in property damage, regardless of who was at fault for the accident or the extent of the damage. If you are convicted of an Orange County misdemeanor hit and run, you can be sentenced to jail for up to six months and/or fined up to $1,000. You may also face up to three years of informal probation and restitution to any victims whose property you damaged. If this was your first offense and there were no aggravating factors, such as an Orange County DUI, the offense may be compromised pursuant to California Penal Code § 1377-1379, which in some cases of misdemeanors, allows for a civil remedy – i.e. full compensation to the victim or victims for their loss or injury – in place of criminal prosecution.
Orange County Felony Hit and Run Vehicle Code § 20001
Under California Vehicle Code § 20001, if you are involved in an Orange County hit-and-run accident that injures or kills a pedestrian or occupant of another vehicle, the crime may be charged as a felony offense. If you are convicted of an Orange County felony hit and run causing minor injuries, you can be sentenced to a maximum of one year in county jail or state prison and/or fined between $1,000 and $10,000. If the hit and run results in death or permanent, serious injury to another person, and you are convicted of the crime, you could face a sentence of two, three or four years in state prison or between 90 days and one year in county jail, and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
Additional Hit-and-Run Penalties
Under Orange County law, there are certain aggravating factors that can result in increased penalties for hit-and-run accidents. For instance, if you were driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, at the time of the accident, you could face both an Orange County hit and run and a DUI conviction, a criminal offense that carries its own legal penalties under Vehicle Code § 23152(a) VC and Vehicle Code § 23152(b) VC. If you are charged with Orange County hit and run and it turns out your driver’s license was expired at the time of the accident, you could also be charged with the crime of driving without a license under Vehicle Code § 12500 VC. Additionally, under Vehicle Code § 13201, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend your driver’s license for up to six months if you are convicted of an Orange County hit-and-run accident, and you will also have two points added to your driving record.
Orange County Hit and Run Defense
Being accused of causing property damage or personal injury in a hit-and-run accident can be scary and confusing but given the penalties associated with a hit-and-run conviction in Orange County, it is well worth your while to fight the charges. Remember that in hit-and-run cases, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. This means that in order to demonstrate your alleged guilt and convict you of a hit and run, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following four elements of the crime:
- That you were involved in an accident while driving;
- That the accident caused another person to suffer property damage, injury or death;
- That you knew or should have known that you had been involved in an accident that caused another person to suffer property damage, injury or death; and
- That you willfully failed to stop at the scene and provide reasonable assistance or give identifying information to the other involved parties or police officers at the scene.
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County Hit and Run Cases
The main component of the crime known as “hit and run” is not the accident itself; rather, it is the driver’s failure to stop and render assistance or provide the victims of the accident or an officer on the scene with his or her personal information – more specifically, the driver’s attempt to avoid responsibility for his or her actions. If your criminal defense attorney can establish reasonable doubt by raising one or more of the following defenses at trial, you may be able to avoid a hit-and-run conviction:
- You stopped as soon as reasonably possible
- You didn’t realize you were involved in an accident
- You left your information at the scene
- You didn’t believe you caused any property damage
- Only your car was damaged in the accident
- You were not driving at the time of the accident
- You were unconscious or disabled after the accident
How Hiring a Hit and Run Defense Attorney Can Help
Not only can a misdemeanor or felony hit-and-run conviction result in significant fines and a county jail or state prison sentence, it can also raise your insurance rates and cause you to lose your driving privileges, among other serious consequences. In order to get a hit-and-run conviction in Orange County, the prosecution in your case will try to portray you as a reckless or distracted driver who has no regard for the safety or well-being of others. Unfortunately, Orange County hit-and-run laws are strict and apply to every accident causing property damage or personal injury, regardless of who was at fault, the amount of damage caused, or the severity of the resulting injuries. This is how many people with no criminal history end up facing hit-and-run charges, many without even realizing they had committed a crime. With an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney on your side who will protect your rights under the law and negotiate with the prosecution to have your charges reduced or your punishment minimized, you can significantly improve your chances of getting the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact Our Reputable Hit and Run Defense Attorneys Today
Hit-and-run accidents can be devastating for any victims who suffer injuries or lose loved ones, but being wrongfully convicted of such a crime can also be life-changing. Some people believe that if they accidentally hit another car on the roadway or in a parking lot and there doesn’t appear to be any immediate damage to the other car or person, it is okay to leave the scene without stopping. However, this may be a violation of Orange County hit-and-run law and even in cases where the property damage or personal injury is minor, you can be convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to jail as a result. If you or a loved one has been charged with misdemeanor or felony hit and run in Orange County, do not hesitate to hire legal counsel. Contact our knowledgeable Orange County hit-and-run defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today to discuss your legal options.