Every crime in California is defined by a specific code section. Our attorneys explain the law, penalties and best defense strategies for every major crime in California.
Hit and Run Accidents » Statute of Limitations For Hit & Run in California?
Under Assembly Bill 184, the statute of limitations to file hit and run charges in California is now 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:
Please note that the law has a statute of limitations for crimes in order to help ensure fairness for defendants.
Under Assembly Bill 184, the SOL for a charge of hit and run in California is six years.
This means a prosecutor must file a hit and run charge within six years from the date a motorist commits the offense. If he/she fails to do so, then no charges can be brought.
AB 184 was signed into law in 2014. Prior to this signing, the SOL for a hit and run charge was three years.
Vehicle Code 20002 VC is the California statute that defines the crime of misdemeanor hit and run.
A person may be charged with this crime if he:
These elements apply in every car accident, regardless of:
A violation of VC 20002 is punishable by:
Vehicle Code 20001 VC is the California law that defines the crime of felony hit and run.
A prosecutor must show that a defendant did the following in order to prove that he is guilty under VC 20001:
(a) that someone (other than himself) was injured or killed, OR
(b) that the accident was of such a nature that it was probable that another person was
injured or killed, and
Even though this offense is called “felony” hit and run, a violation of Vehicle Code 20001 is actually a wobbler. This means that the prosecutor can charge it as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on:
If charged as a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by:
If charged as a felony, the crime is punishable by:
If someone (other than the defendant) was killed or suffered a permanent, serious injury in the accident, then the defendant could face two to four years in state prison.
Statute of limitations exist to help ensure fairness for defendants. Evidence often gets lost or destroyed with the passage of time. Witnesses to crimes may also move after several years, or, they may no longer recall certain facts that took place. The result is that it would be unfair to pursue criminal charges against a person after a certain period of time has passed.
The Discovery Rule is used to determine when the statutory period for bringing criminal charges begins. The rule says that the SOL clock begins to run when an offense is discovered. So, for example, a person may commit a hit and run on January 1, 2019. If authorities do not learn of the crime until January 1, 2020, then they have until January 1, 2026 to bring charges.
There is a statute of limitations for most crimes in California.
While the majority of misdemeanors have a statute of limitations of one year, California Penal Code 801 says that felonies have a SOL of three years.
But note that not all crimes have a statute of limitations. Under California Penal Code 799, charges of the following crimes can be brought against a person at any time:
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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. Vehicle Code 20002 VC is the California statute that defines the crime of misdemeanor hit and run. This section makes it a crime for ...
California hit & run law requires a person involved in an accident to stop and provide identifying information to the other parties. Failure to do so may invite a felony charge under Vehicle Code 20001 if the accident caused injuries, or a misdemeanor charge under Vehicle Code 20002 if there was only property damage. An ...
Prosecutors can generally charge you with hit and run one to three years after the date of the incident. In cases of misdemeanor hit and run, an offender typically has to be charged within one year. With felony hit and run, a suspect has to be charged within three years. In most jurisdictions, a prosecutor ...
Do not leave the scene if you are driving in Las Vegas and hit a pedestrian or cyclist. Hit-and-run in Las Vegas is a major crime. The penalties for leaving an accident scene or neglecting to lend help to others who may be hurt can result in jail time. There are several hit-and-run laws in ...