Is a hit and run worse than a DUI? | Ellis Injury Law

Is a hit and run worse than a DUI?

No one ever wants to go through a hit and run car accident or a DUI arrest, but unfortunately they happen frequently. While it may be tempting to categorize one as worse than the other, both are serious offenses with serious consequences, and both necessitate legal representation.  

If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident or a DUI, you need to contact the best Los Angeles personal injury lawyers  in your area.  An experienced lawyer, like those at Ellis Law Corporation, can give you the legal advice and representation necessary for the best possible outcome.  

Hit and run accidents  

A hit and run is a serious offense, even if there aren’t any drugs or alcohol involved. Though state laws vary, hit and run punishments generally depend on whether the accident caused any property damage, injuries, or death.  

In California, a hit and run accident that causes property damages is a misdemeanor, while a hit and run that results in injury or death can lead to felony charges. While a misdemeanor hit and run conviction usually comes with fines and a maximum of one year in jail, a felony hit and run conviction can lead to severe penalties from significant fines to hefty prison time.  


Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a severe offense even if there wasn’t an accident. A DUI is generally categorized as a misdemeanor but can be upgraded to a felony charge depending on if the defendant has a certain number of prior DUI charges, or if there were other factors including property damage, injuries or deaths.  

For a first DUI charge where nothing was damaged or no one was injured or killed, the penalties might be a few days in jail, a few thousand dollars in fines, and a six-month license suspension. However, if the driver has been convicted of a DUI twice in the past, or causes serious injury or death, the penalty can be as severe as five years in jail, fines up to $100,000, and a lifetime license revocation. Prior convictions can also increase the likelihood of the penalty including an ignition interlock device.  

Hit and run DUIs 

If a car accident results in property damage or injury, the driver has certain legal responsibilities including remaining at the scene, offering necessary information, and providing assistance to the injured. These responsibilities don’t change if someone driving under the influence caused the accident. While hit and runs and DUIs are bad respectively, a combination of the two is worse. 

A DUI hit and run combination defendant will face penalties for both offenses. Though the presiding judge has some discretion for the penalties, the common sentence includes significant jail time and fines. Depending on the circumstances, DUIs and hit and run offenders might also face other charges including reckless driving and vehicular homicide, depending on the specifics of the case.  

Contact a personal injury lawyer  

Whether you were injured in a hit-and-run or a DUI accident, you should contact a lawyer. Los Angeles car accident attorneys can help represent you in court for the best possible outcome in your personal case, as an experienced lawyer will know the specifics of California law that can help you.  

A lawyer will also be able to help collect and analyze evidence to help your case. Most importantly, having an experienced attorney on your side will make the entire process more manageable and less stressful for you and your loved ones.  

Ellis Law Corporation can help you navigate the path from arrest to litigation with compassion, experience, and efficiency. A personal injury attorney from our team will work closely with you and your family and will develop a strong relationship with you for effective and vital communication. Call a Los Angeles car accident lawyer from Ellis Law today for a free consultation.