If you are involved in an accident of any kind in the State of California, you are required by law to remain at the accident scene or make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the property and authorities. Failure to do so could result in you being arrested and charged with hit and run. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the severity of the accident, you could be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor.
California Vehicle Code 20002VC recognizes that California drivers have 3 duties after an accident that causes damage to another person's property:
If you hit a parked vehicle or the property of a homeowner who is not home, then you are obligated to leave a conspicuously placed note with your identifying information included and contact your local police department.
Mary backed into a mailbox while leaving a friend's house. Since it was dark and no one saw the incident, Mary left without notifying the homeowner of the damage. In this situation, Mary would be guilty of misdemeanor hit and run and could find herself in serious trouble.
If you fail to meet any of the above requirements, then you could be charged with misdemeanor hit and run---even if you are not ultimately responsible for the accident.
Property damage could be personal property (such as a shopping cart in a grocery store parking lot), private property (such as a fence or mailbox), or pets.
If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor hit and run in Oakland or anywhere in the State of California, you face serious consequences and penalties, including:
If you were not driving the vehicle at the time of the accident, your lawyer
would be able to have the charge against you dismissed. Also, if your
vehicle was the only one who sustained damage, then your lawyer could
employ this as a defense against hit and run charges.
In some cases, especially first time offenses with no aggravating circumstances, your Oakland hit and run lawyer may be able to have you engage in a civil compromise. This would allow you to fully reimburse the victim for their property damage. Once you have done so, the hit and run charges are dismissed.
Call me at (510) 907-6600 or send me an e-mail to discuss how I can help you pursue the best possible outcome.