A car accident can be a stressful and frightening event, no matter how small. If you have left the scene of an accident without stopping and providing lawfully required information, then you need immediate legal advice. In California, leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor if any property damage occurred or a felony if another party suffered bodily injury or death.
It is important to contact a criminal lawyer before law enforcement contacts you. And while not all reasons for leaving the scene of an accident are legal defenses, some are. You may have been wrongfully accused of a crime.
Long Beach criminal law specialist, attorney Matthew Kaestner, has over 30 years of criminal law experience handling felony and misdemeanor hit and run cases. He personally handles every aspect of each case he takes from initial consultation through trial, if necessary.
California law requires any person involved in a motorized vehicle accident to immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident and provide or leave one’s name and address. Upon request, the driver must present a driver’s license or if not in possession of a license, provide other valid evidence of identification, and vehicle registration. (Vehicle Code section 20002.)
In addition, Vehicle Code sections 20001 and 20003 require a driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to another party to also:
- provide the name and address of all occupants in the vehicle;
- provide the registration number of the vehicle;
- provide the name and address of the vehicle’s owner;
- provide all the above information to any responding officer;
- render reasonable aid, including transportation or arranging transportation of an injured person who needs or requests to be transported;
- report the accident within 24 hours to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction.
Defenses to a hit and run charge can include:
- you weren’t the driver (or passenger) of the involved vehicle;
- you were mis-identified as the driver;
- you did stop and provide information;
- you stopped as soon as it was reasonable to stop;
- you were unaware that you were in an accident that caused property damage or injury or death;
If you need expert assistance from a criminal law attorney, contact Long Beach criminal lawyer Matthew Kaestner at (562) 437-0200.