Hit and run can be charged as either a California misdemeanor or a felony depending on: the facts of the case, and what Vehicle Code section the offense is charged under.
Under Assembly Bill 184, the statute of limitations (“SOL”) for a charge of hit and run in California is six years. AB 184 was signed into law in 2014. Prior to this signing, the SOL for a hit and run charge was three years. Under California criminal law, a statute of limitations refers to the maximum time period for which a prosecutor can file charges of an offense. According to California law, “hit and run” is when a motorist hits a vehicle, person, or some property and then fleas the scene of the crime. The offense can be either a: misdemeanor, per VC 20002, if no one was injured in the offense, or felony, per VC 20001, if a person was injured or killed in the offense. Please note that the law has a statute of limitations for crimes in order to help ensure fairness for defendants.
A civil compromise (“CC”) can get a hit and run charge dismissed in California provided that: the offense gets charged as a misdemeanor (and not a felony), and the defendant compensates the victim for any damages that the crime caused. Civil compromises take place in California criminal proceedings when a judge dismisses a criminal charge against a defendant after he compensates the victim for any damages his offense caused. A CC is only available in misdemeanor cases. They are not allowed in felony cases. Under California law, hit and run (“H&R”) is considered a crime under Vehicle Code 20001 and 20002. The crime is charged as a felony, per VC 20001, when the offense results in a person being injured or killed. In most other scenarios, VC 20002 says that a hit and run will be charged as a misdemeanor.