Felony Hit and Run Involving Death or Injury
California Vehicle Code 20001 VC

A California hit and run takes place if you leave the scene of an accident without first identifying yourself to the other people involved.

If no one else was hurt and only property was damaged in the accident, you would be charged with California misdemeanorhit and run.1 If, however, a person (other than yourself) was injured or killed . . . the charge can rise to a felony hit and run.2

You might think that California law would make hit and run a crime only in cases where the person being charged was at fault or caused the accident. In fact, though, you can be charged with felony hit & run even if the other driver was entirely at fault in the accident...or no one was really to blame for it.3

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Examples of scenarios that can lead to felony hit and run charges under Vehicle Code 20001 VC include:

  • A driver is rear-ended. He suffers a bump on the head and bruises, and so does the woman who rear-ended him.  But because damage to the cars is minimal, they decide to drive away without exchanging names or other information.
  • A driver makes a hazardous left turn right after a light has turned red. This causes a car accident between two cars on the oncoming road. The accident looks severe enough to cause injury.but the driver who made the left turn does not stop.
Penalties

Even though it's called "felony" hit and run, the crime of Vehicle Code 20001 VC hit and run is actually a wobbler.  This means that the prosecutor may choose to try it as a misdemeanoror a felony4 ...usually depending on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

If felony hit and run is tried as a misdemeanor, the maximum penalties are a fine of between one thousand dollars ($1,000) and ten thousand dollars ($10,000), and/or up to one (1) year in county jail. If the accident resulted in a death or a permanent, serious injury, in most cases the defendant will need to serve at least ninety (90) days in jail.5

But if it is prosecuted as a felony, felony hit and run carries penalties of a fine of between one thousand dollars ($1,000) and ten thousand dollars ($10,000)...plus sixteen (16) months to three (3) years in state prison. If someone (other than the defendant) was killed or suffered a permanent, serious injury in the accident, the state prison sentence rises to two (2) to four (4) years.6

Legal defenses

Felony hit and run is a serious charge...and one that is often faced by people with no prior experience in the criminal justice system. Fortunately, there are several legal defenses that may help you beat or reduce these charges.These include:

  • You weren't the one driving your car in the accident,
  • You didn't know that an accident had occurred...or that anyone else had been injured,
  • You didn't "willfully" flee the scene or fail to identify yourself after the accident, and
  • You were the only one injured in the accident.

In this article, our California criminal defense attorneys will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding California felony hit and run law by addressing the following topics:

1. Your Duties After an Accident Involving Injury
or Death
2. How Does the Prosecutor Prove that I
Committed a California Felony
Hit and Run?
3. What are the Legal Defenses to California Felony Hit and Run Under California Vehicle Code
20001 VC?
4. What are the Penalties for California Felony Hit
and Run?
5. Related Offenses

5.1. Misdemeanor hit and run Vehicle Code 20002 VC

5.2. DUI

5.3. Vehicular manslaughter / gross vehicular manslaughter
while intoxicated

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions or would like to speak to a California hit and run defense lawyer, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on Legal Definition of a Wobbler in California Law; Legal Definition of a Felony in California Law; Legal Definition of a Misdemeanor in California Law; Common Legal Defenses to California Crimes; Misdemeanor Hit and Run Involving Property Damage Vehicle Code 20002 VC; California DUI; California DUI Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing; California DUI Defenses; California's Vehicular Manslaughter Laws; and California's Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated" Law Penal Code 191.5(a) PC.

1. Your Duties After an Accident Involving Injury or Death

If you are involved in an accident where someone (other than yourself) is injured or killed, California Vehicle Code 20001 VC requires you to do the following:

  1. Immediately stop your car at the scene;7
  2. Provide your identifying information (along with the identifying information of any of your injured passengers) to the other involved party/parties and to any on-scene law enforcement officers.  This information includes names and current addresses, the vehicle's registration number, and the name and current address of the car's owner (if you were driving someone else's car);8
  3. Provide reasonable assistance to any injured person(s) in order to help secure medical attention.  This includes transporting (or arranging transportation for) any injured person who obviously needs or requests medical help;9 AND
  4. Upon request, provide your driver's license and the driver's license or other identification of your injured passengers to the other involved party/parties and/or to any on-scene law enforcement agency.10
    Also, if the accident results in a death AND no law enforcement officer shows up at the scene of the accident, once you have fulfilled the above obligations, you are additionally required to:
  5. Immediately contact your local police department or California Highway Patrol office with the above information.11

These requirements apply to every accident involving injury or death regardless of:

  • Who is at fault for the accident12 , or
  • The seriousness of the injury/injuries.

This means that even if the other driver is 100% responsible for the accident and/or only suffers a cut or bruise, you could be prosecuted for this offense if you don't adhere to these requirements.13

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It also means that you have these duties to your own passengers if they are injured or killed.  Fleeing the scene after your passengers are injured will subject you to prosecution as well.14

Example: Billy is driving around in his car with three friends as passengers. He and his friends are all drinking wine. Billy loses control of his car and goes off the road. He is injured in the accident, and so are all of his friends, one of whose clothes catches fire.

Billy is able to get out of the car and walk down the road to look for help. He flags down an oncoming car and asks the driver to take him to the hospital. He does nothing to help his injured friends.

Billy is guilty of felony hit and run even though the only other injured parties were all passengers in his car.15

With respect to your duties, the first one causes the most concern from a public policy standpoint.  If you immediately leave the scene of a significant accident without first checking to see if anyone was hurt, you will invite an aggressive hit and run prosecution.

Although the second duty -- the duty to provide your identifying information -- requires little explanation, it provides a perfect segue to a related issue:

Providing your insurance information isn't specifically mentioned under California Vehicle Code 20001 VC.  This is because this information (along with your vehicle identification number) must always be exchanged between drivers who are present at the scene of any accident under California Vehicle Code 16025 VC.

Failure to do so is an infraction in California law, punishable by a maximum two hundred fifty dollar ($250) fine.16

The term "reasonable assistance" -- used in defining the third duty under this law -- means that you must (1) determine what assistance is necessary to help the injured person(s), and (2) ensure that that assistance will be provided by you or someone else.17

Although you are not required to provide assistance if someone else is actively doing so, you will not be excused from this requirement simply because others are present and able to do so.18

2. How Does the Prosecutor Prove that I Committed a California Felony Hit and Run?

In order to prove that you violated California Vehicle Code 20001 VC, the prosecutor must prove the following facts (otherwise known as "elements of the crime"):

  1. that you were involved in an accident that resulted in injury or death to another,
  2. that you knew an accident had occurred,
  3. that you knew EITHER:
    (a) that someone (other than yourself) was injured or killed, OR

    (b) that the accident was of such a nature that it was probable that another was injured or killed, and
  4. that you willfully failed to perform one or more of the duties outlined above.19

Let's say you performed some of the duties listed above, but not all of them. Unfortunately, in that case you can be convicted of felony hit and run for failing to perform even one of the above acts.20

Example: Teresa's car collides with James' car. It is not really clear who is at fault. Teresa immediately stops her car and gets out to check the damage. She is unhurt, but she sees that James has several cuts on his face. James is also complaining that his back hurts.

James is very aggressive and yells and swears at Teresa over the accident. Neither car is damaged too badly, and James' injuries seem minor. Plus, Teresa is a little afraid of James and doesn't want to give him her name or address. So she leaves the scene without providing her identifying information.

Teresa could still be guilty of felony hit and run...even though she did perform one of her duties (stopping immediately after the accident).

On that note, the jury will be told that before they can convict you, they must unanimously agree that you failed to perform one or more of these duties.  They will additionally be instructed that they must unanimously agree on at least one particular duty that you failed to perform.21

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If death or a permanent serious injury occurred, the jury must also determine that the accident was a cause of the resulting injury or death before they can vote guilty.22 It bears repeating that this instruction will be given regardless of whether the accident was your fault.

Let's expand on a few of the terms used in the above elements to help you better understand their meaning.

That you were "involved" in an accident

"Involved" in an accident means being connected to the accident in a logical or natural manner.23 It doesn't necessarily mean that you actually made contact with another car or property...only that your driving contributed to the collision.24

Example: Ana is waiting to turn left at an intersection with a stop light. When her light turns yellow, she makes the left turn.

But Kristi is driving in the opposite direction from Ana on the same street and is accelerating in order to try to make it through the intersection before the light turns red. When Ana turns left, Kristi is forced to brake very suddenly, causing her car to skid off the road.

Ana's car never touched Kristi's...but Ana's driving was logically connected to Kristi's accident. Thus, Ana may have been "involved" in the accident for purposes of the felony hit and run law.

That you "knew" about the accident and either knew or reasonably should have known about the injury/death

Your "knowledge" about the accident will be presumed if you, at any time, made any statements that indicated you knew there was an accident.  If it is concluded that you knew about the accident, the severity of the accident will determine whether you at least "should have known" that someone was likely injured or killed as a result.

"Knowledge" may also be assumed if your car was damaged in the felony hit and run accident.  This may occur, for example, if an investigator claims that the damage to the car you were allegedly driving was consistent with the damage that was sustained by the other involved party/parties.

"Knowledge" is therefore a crucial element to both the prosecution's case and the defense case.  Knowledge as a defense will be addressed in Section 3 below.

That you "willfully" failed to perform at least one of your
required duties

A "willful" act doesn't mean that you necessarily intended to break the law. It doesn't even mean that you intended to hurt someone else or benefit yourself.  It simply means that you intended to act as you did (or that you intended not to act).25 If you knowingly left the scene of an accident, didn't exchange information, and/or didn't attempt to render "reasonable assistance" intending to do so, you acted willfully.

It should also be noted that California felony hit and run can be charged against both the driver and the owner of the car (if he/she was a passenger in the car).26 This may be the case when the owner either encourages or advises the driver to violate this law.27

Example: Mickey is a wealthy executive who usually has a chauffeur drive him places while he works in the back seat of his car. One night, when his chauffeur is driving him home from work quite late, the chauffeur hits a pedestrian who runs out in front of the car.

The pedestrian is still alive but limps away from the scene of the accident and is probably injured. Mickey panics and tells his driver to drive away quickly without stopping.

Both the driver and Mickey can be charged with felony hit and run...since Mickey was the owner of the car and told the driver to violate the law by driving away.
3. What are the Legal Defenses to California Felony Hit and Run Under California Vehicle Code 20001 VC?

A California felony hit and run defense lawyer may argue several legal defenses on your behalf, depending on the facts of your specific case.  The following is a brief summary of some examples.

It wasn't you

If someone else had access to your car, or if your car had been stolen (and you had filed a police report about your stolen car before the hit and run allegation), you might present this defense.  This defense would most likely apply if there were no eyewitnesses to identify you.

According to top Newport Beach criminal defense attorney John Murray28 :

"The prosecution bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was the hit and run driver. Even if his/her car was the hit and run car, that alone doesn't prove that the owner of the car was the driver when the accident occurred."
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With respect to a stolen car defense, it must be noted that filing a false police report is its own crime and should NEVER be done to try to escape liability for another offense.  This claim would only work if a valid report had been filed prior to the hit and run allegation.

Lack of knowledge

If you didn't know that you were involved in an accident, you aren't liable for this crime.  Similarly, if you didn't know there were any injuries (or didn't have reason to suspect that there were any injuries), you can't be convicted of hit and run as a felony.29

There are a few ways that this defense would typically come into play.

The first would be in a situation where your car wasn't involved in the actual collision.  If your driving caused others to collide, you were still "involved" (defined above) in the accident for purposes of this law.30 However, you wouldn't necessarily know you were involved if the accident took place behind you, for example.

The second situation would arise if, for instance, you were driving a large SUV, but you backed into a compact car.  Although someone in that car may have been slightly injured, you may not have realized that you had even hit the car.

A third way for this defense to apply would be if you knew you were involved in an accident, but had no reason to know there were any injuries.31 Suppose, for example, you knew you were in an accident, but (1) you weren't hurt, (2) the other driver said no one else was hurt, and (3) you then drove off before providing your information. In this case, you would only be liable for misdemeanor (not felony) hit and run...even if it was later alleged that the other party's passengers did sustain injuries.

Fleeing the scene or failing to leave your information wasn't willful

There may be times when it simply isn't safe for you to remain at the scene long enough to comply with your duties.  If, for example, you hit a pedestrian, and an angry mob formed, you may have been forced to flee before you gave your information.

If the evidence supports this claim, your California felony hit and run attorney might be able to get the charge reduced or even dismissed.  It would depend on what efforts you took take to comply with this law.  For example, did you immediately call the police after leaving the scene of the accident?

You were the only person injured in the accident

If you were the only person injured in the accident, the requirements under California Vehicle Code 20001 VC do not apply.  Both the code section and the jury instructions specify that the driver has these duties only when someone (other than him or herself) suffers an injury.32

4. What are the Penalties for California Felony
Hit and Run?

California Vehicle Code 20001 VC has two different sentencing schemes. One is for accidents that simply cause an injury. The other is for accidents that cause death or permanent, serious injury.

Also, as we mentioned above, felony hit and run is actually a wobbler in California
law
. This means that the prosecutor may charge it as a felony ...but may also decide to knock the offense down to a misdemeanor.33 This decision usually hinges on the defendant's criminal history and the particular facts of the case.

If convicted of California felony hit and run involving (non-permanent, non-serious) injury, you may face any or all of the following:

  • A fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) to ten thousand dollars ($10,000),
  • Up to one (1) year in a county jail (if the prosecutor knocks the offense down to a misdemeanor),
  • Sixteen (16) months or two (2) or three (3) years in a California State Prison (if the prosecutor charges the offense as a felony),34
  • Restitution (only if the "victim's" injuries were caused or exacerbated by the fact that you left the scene)35 , and
  • Per the California DMV, two (2) points on your driving record.36
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If convicted of California felony hit and run involving death or permanent, serious injury (which is defined as a loss or permanent impairment to one's body37 ), you face any or all of the following:

  • A fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000) to ten thousand dollars ($10,000),
  • At least ninety (90) days and no more than one (1) year in a county jail (again, if the prosecutor reduces the charge to a misdemeanor),
  • Two (2), three (3), or four (4) years in the California State Prison (if the prosecutor charges the offense as a felony),38
  • Restitution (under the same facts mentioned above), and
  • The same point count on your California DMV record.39
5. Related Offenses

5.1. Misdemeanor hit and run Vehicle Code 20002 VC

As we mentioned above, California hit and run is misdemeanor hit and run when...instead of causing physical injury or death...the accident just causes property damage (to property other than your own).40

The crime of misdemeanor hit and run (California Vehicle Code 20002 VC) has most of the same elements as felony hit and run: you were involved in an accident, you know or reasonably should have known about the accident and its effects, and you willfully failed to stop and identify yourself at the scene of the accident.41

The only difference is that, with misdemeanor hit and run, the effect of the accident is not death or injury but instead is just damage to property other than your own...and you have to have known, or have reasonably been expected to know, that this damage occurred.42

In some cases, a prosecutor might choose to charge a defendant with both felony hit and run AND misdemeanor hit and run. For example, the accident may have resulted in both damage to the other driver's car and a minor injury to the other driver...but the prosecutor may be concerned that s/he may not be able to prove that you knew or should have known about the injury...and so may charge misdemeanor hit and run as well, since that may be easier to prove.

The penalties for misdemeanor hit and run include up to six (6) months in a county jail, and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).43

5.2. DUI

If the prosecutor asserts that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident...you may be charged with both California felony hit and run AND California DUI.

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People accused of DUI in California are typically charged with two separate offenses:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC, and
  2. Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater under California Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC.44

Both of these offenses are misdemeanor.45 So the potential California DUI penalties for a first-time DUI conviction include:

  • At least ninety-six (96) hours and no more than six (6) months in county jail,
  • A fine of at least three hundred ninety dollars ($390) and no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), and
  • A six (6)- to ten (10)-month suspension or restriction of your driver's license.46

If you find yourself facing charges for both California felony hit and run and California DUI, the penalties can really add up. Because DUI law is incredibly complicated, an attorney experienced in California DUI penalties can be a huge help in this sort of situation.

5.3. Vehicular manslaughter / gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated

If the accident giving rise to felony hit and run charges results in a death...you may also find yourself facing charges under California's vehicular manslaughter
laws
.

To be convicted of the crime of vehicular manslaughter, it's not enough to have killed someone in a car accident. The prosecutor has to be able to show that you either:

  1. were driving in an illegal way,
  2. were driving in a legal but dangerous way, or
  3. knowingly caused the accident for financial gain.47

But if the prosecutor alleges that one of these things is true...and that you left
the scene of the accident without identifying yourself...then you may face vehicular manslaughter charges on top of the felony hit and run charges. Vehicular manslaughter is a wobbler. Misdemeanor penalties include up to one (1) year in county jail, and felony penalties include two (2) to ten (10) years in state prison...depending on the specific facts of the case.48

And if you are convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in addition to felony hit and run...then the additional penalties are even steeper. This crime carries a felony penalty of four (4) to ten (10) years in state prison.49

Call Us for Help...
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If you or loved one is charged with Vehicle Code 20001 VC felony hit and run and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

To learn more about hit and run laws in Nevada, go to our page on "Hit and Run" Laws in Nevada.

Legal References:

1 California Vehicle Code 20002 VC - Duty where property damaged [Misdemeanor hit and run].

2California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Duty to stop at scene of injury accident; penalties [Felony hit and run]. ("(a) The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004. (b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph. (3) In imposing the minimum fine required by this subdivision, the court shall take into consideration the defendant's ability to pay the fine and, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce the amount of that minimum fine to less than the amount otherwise required by this subdivision. (c) A person who flees the scene of the crime after committing a violation of Section 191.5 of, or paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 of the Penal Code, upon conviction of any of those sections, in addition and consecutive to the punishment prescribed, shall be punished by an additional term of imprisonment of five years in the state prison. This additional term shall not be imposed unless the allegation is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted by the defendant or found to be true by the trier of fact. The court shall not strike a finding that brings a person within the provisions of this subdivision or an allegation made pursuant to this subdivision. (d) As used in this section, "permanent, serious injury" means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.")

3Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions ("CALCRIM") 2140 - Failure to Perform Duty Following Accident: Death or Injury - Defendant Driver [Felony hit and run]. ("The driver of a vehicle must perform the duties listed regardless of who was injured and regardless of how or why the accident happened. It does not matter if someone else caused the accident or if the accident was unavoidable.")

4California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Felony hit and run. ("(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.")

5See same.

6See same.

7California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Felony hit and run. ("(a) The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.")

8California Vehicle Code 20003 VC - 20003 - Duty upon injury or death [to avoid felony hit and run liability]. ("(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall also give his or her name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver's vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and shall give the information to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident. The driver also shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including transporting, or making arrangements for transporting, any injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if that transportation is requested by any injured person. (b) Any driver or injured occupant of a driver's vehicle subject to the provisions of subdivision (a) shall also, upon being requested, exhibit his or her driver's license, if available, or, in the case of an injured occupant, any other available identification, to the person struck or to the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, and to any traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident.")

9See same.

10See same.

11California Vehicle Code 20004 VC - Duty upon death [to avoid liability for felony hit and run]. ("In the event of death of any person resulting from an accident, the driver of any vehicle involved after fulfilling the requirements of this division, and if there be no traffic or police officer at the scene of the accident to whom to give the information required by Section 20003, shall, without delay, report the accident to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol or office of a duly authorized police authority and submit with the report the information required by Section 20003.")

12People v. Bammes, (App. 3 Dist. 1968) 265 Cal.App.2d 626 (Duties under the felony hit and run law are imposed on a driver regardless of whether he/she is responsible for the accident.)

13 CALCRIM 2140 - Felony hit and run. ("The driver of a vehicle must perform the duties listed regardless of who was injured and regardless of how or why the accident happened. It does not matter if someone else caused the accident or if the accident was unavoidable.")

14People v. Lobaugh, (App. 1 Dist. 1971) 18 Cal.App.3d 75 (Defendant fled scene without attempting to "reasonably assist" any of his injured passengers....this was felony hit and run)

15Based on the facts of the same.

16California Vehicle Code 16025 VC - Accidents; exchange of information; fines and penalties. ("(a) Every driver involved in the accident shall, unless rendered incapable, exchange with any other driver or property owner involved in the accident and present at the scene, all of the following information: (1) Driver's name and current residence address, driver's license number, vehicle identification number, and current residence address of registered owner. (2) Evidence of financial responsibility, as specified in Section 16020. If the financial responsibility of a person is a form of insurance, then that person shall supply the name and address of the insurance company and the number of the insurance policy. (b) Any person failing to comply with all of the requirements of this section is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250).")

17CALCRIM 2140 - Felony hit and run. ("To provide reasonable assistance means the driver must determine what assistance, if any, the injured person needs and make a reasonable effort to see that such assistance is provided, either by the driver or someone else. Reasonable assistance includes transporting anyone who has been injured for medical treatment, or arranging the transportation for such treatment, if it is apparent that treatment is necessary or if an injured person requests transportation. [The driver is not required to provide assistance that is unnecessary or that is already being provided by someone else. However, the requirement that the driver provide assistance is not excused merely because bystanders are on the scene or could provide assistance.]")

18See same.

19See same. ("To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime [felony hit and run], the People must prove that: 1 While driving, the defendant was involved in a vehicle accident; 2 The accident caused (the death of/ [or] [permanent, serious] injury to) someone else; 3 The defendant knew that (he/she) had been involved in an accident that injured another person [or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had been injured]; AND 4 The defendant willfully failed to perform one or more of the following duties: . . . .")

20People v. Bautista (App. 1 Dist. 1990) 265 Cal.Rptr. 661, 217 Cal.App.3d 1 (Failing to perform even one of the required acts constitutes a violation of the felony hit and run law.)

21CALCRIM 2140 - Felony hit and run. ("You may not find the defendant guilty unless all of you agree that the People have proved that the defendant failed to perform at least one of the required duties. You must all agree on which duty the defendant failed to perform.")

22See same. ("An accident causes (death/ [or] [permanent, serious] injury) if the (death/ [or] injury) is the direct, natural, and probable consequence of the accident and the (death/ [or] injury) would not have happened without the accident. A natural and probable consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing unusual intervenes. In deciding whether a consequence is natural and probable, consider all the circumstances established by the evidence.]")

23See same. ("[To be involved in a vehicle accident [for purposes of felony hit and run] means to be connected with the accident in a natural or logical manner. It is not necessary for the driver's vehicle to collide with another vehicle or person.]")

24People v. Sell, (1950) 96 Cal.App.2d 521 ("It seems clear that the word 'involved' [for purposes of the felony hit and run law] is there used in the sense of being connected with (an accident) in a natural or logical manner. The statute relates to a driver thus involved in such accident and is in no way made dependent upon whether or not control of a vehicle is retained or lost, or upon who may ultimately be found to be most at fault.")

25CALCRIM 2140 - Felony hit and run. ("Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.")

26 People v. Rallo (App. 3 Dist. 1931), 119 Cal.App. 393 ("We are therefore of the opinion that the owner of a machine who is riding therein having the control of its operation at the time of an accident may be deemed to be the driver thereof, for the purposes of this section, even though another person may be actually seated at the steering-wheel.")

27 People v. Madison (App. 4 Dist. 1966) 242 Cal.App.2d 820 ("A passenger may be liable for a violation of this section 20001, Vehicle Code [felony hit and run], if he exercises control or has the right to control the operation of the vehicle and advises or encourages the actual driver to leave the scene-to commit the crime.")

28 Newport Beach criminal defense attorney John Murray is a highly regarded criminal defense and DUI lawyer working throughout Long Beach, the South Bay and Orange County. He has secured numerous "not guilty" verdicts in cases involving DUI and the California Vehicle Code.

29 CALCRIM 2140 - Felony hit and run. ("("To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime [felony hit and run], the People must prove that: . . . 3 The defendant knew that (he/she) had been involved in an accident that injured another person [or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that another person had been injured]; : . . . .")

30 See same. ("[To be involved in a vehicle accident means to be connected with the accident in a natural or logical manner. It is not necessary for the driver's vehicle to collide with another vehicle or person.]")

31 People v. Carter, (1966) 243 Cal.App.2d 239 ("The personal injuries were minor and the collision was not of sufficient magnitude to compel the conclusion that injuries had probably occurred.")

32 California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Felony hit and run. ("(a) The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.")

33 California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Felony hit and run. ("(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.")

34 See same.

35 People v. Escobar, (App. 6 Dist. 1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1504 ("The gravamen of a section 20001 [felony hit and run] offense, however, is not the initial injury of the victim, but leaving the scene without presenting identification or rendering aid. Thus, a plea of guilty to a "hit-and-run" offense admits responsibility for leaving the scene but not for causing injury. Restitution is proper only to the extent that the victim's injuries are caused or exacerbated by the offender's leaving the scene.")

36 California Vehicle Code 12810 VC - Traffic violation point counts; allocation of points. ("In determining the violation point count, the following shall apply: (a) A conviction of failure to stop in the event of an accident in violation of Section 20001[felony hit and run] or 20002 shall be given a value of two points.")

37 California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Felony hit and run. ("(d) As used in this section, "permanent, serious injury" means the loss or permanent impairment of function of a bodily member or organ.")

38 California Vehicle Code 20001 VC - Felony hit and run. ("(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (2) If the accident described in subdivision (a) results in death or permanent, serious injury, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. However, the court, in the interests of justice and for reasons stated in the record, may reduce or eliminate the minimum imprisonment required by this paragraph.")

39 California Vehicle Code 12810 VC - Traffic violation point counts; allocation of points. ("In determining the violation point count, the following shall apply: (a) A conviction of failure to stop in the event of an accident in violation of Section 20001 [felony hit and run] or 20002 shall be given a value of two points.")

40 California Vehicle Code 20002 VC - Misdemeanor hit and run [compare to felony hit and run]. ("(a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following: (1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver's license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties. (2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.")

41 CALCRIM 2150 - Failure to Perform Duty Following Accident: Property Damage-Defendant Driver (Veh. Code, � 20002) [Misdemeanor hit and run] [compare to felony hit and run]. ("To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that: 1 While driving, the defendant was involved in a vehicle accident; 2 The accident caused damage to someone else's property; 3 The defendant knew that (he/she) had been involved in an accident that caused property damage [or knew from the nature of the accident that it was probable that property had been damaged]; AND 4 The defendant willfully failed to perform one or more of the following duties: (a) To immediately stop at the scene of the accident; OR (b) To immediately provide the owner or person in control of the damaged property with (his/her) name and current residence address [and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle the defendant was driving].")

42 See same.

43 California Vehicle Code 20002 VC - Misdemeanor hit and run [compare to felony hit and run]. ("(c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.")

44 California Vehicle Code 23152 VC - Driving under influence [could be charged along with felony hit and run]; blood alcohol percentage; presumptions. ("(a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle. (b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person's blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.")

45 California Vehicle Code 40000.15 VC - Misdemeanors. ("A violation of any of the following provisions shall constitute a misdemeanor, and not an infraction: . . . Section 23152, relating to driving under the influence.")

46 California Vehicle Code 23536 - Conviction of first violation of � 23152; punishment.

47 California Penal Code 192 PC - Manslaughter; voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular [may be charged along with felony hit and run]. ("(c) Vehicular-- (1) Except as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 191.5, driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, and with gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence. (2) Driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, but without gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence. (3) Driving a vehicle in connection with a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 550, where the vehicular collision or vehicular accident was knowingly caused for financial gain and proximately resulted in the death of any person. This provision shall not be construed to prevent prosecution of a defendant for the crime of murder. This section shall not be construed as making any homicide in the driving of a vehicle punishable that is not a proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, or of the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner.")

48 California Penal Code 192 PC - Voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter; punishment [would be in addition to penalties for felony hit and run]. ("(c) Vehicular manslaughter is punishable as follows: (1) A violation of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 is punishable either by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four, or six years. (2) A violation of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year. (3) A violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 192 is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 6, or 10 years.")

49 California Penal Code 191.5 PC - Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated [may be charged along with felony hit and run]. ("(a) Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle, where the driving was in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of the Vehicle Code, and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence. . . . (c)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (d), gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 4, 6, or 10 years.")

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