What is the Penalty for a DUI Hit and Run in California?
A person who drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, gets in an accident, and leaves the accident scene will most likely face two charges: a driving while intoxicated (or DUI), and a hit and run. Both of these charges are serious on their own, but they come with severe penalties when together, as the combined violations of California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC (DUI) and California Vehicle Code Section 20002(a) (hit and run) are taken seriously by attorneys and judges alike.
If you’re facing DUI and hit and run charges in California, you need the support of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What are examples of DUI hit and runs?
Not all DUI hit and run accidents are dramatic. In fact, a driver having a few drinks before driving home, hitting a parked car, and driving away without reporting the hit counts as a DUI hit and run. Similarly, if a driver has had a few drinks or has smoked marijuana, hits something on the road in the dark, doesn’t see anyone in the rearview mirror, assumes it was an animal, and continues driving unaware that it was another vehicle or a pedestrian can also be charged with a DUI hit and run.
There are, of course, more dramatic and purposeful instances of DUI hit and run. It’s important to note that, for the purposes of a hit and run, it does not matter who is at fault. Even if the other drive caused the accident, you have a legal duty to remain at the scene.
Remain at the scene
Every driver involved in an accident has legal duties required by California state law, even if the driver was not at fault. Some of these duties include:
- Stopping at the scene
- Assist the injured
- Provide information like name, address, and insurance
- Show your valid driver’s license
- Notify law enforcement if injury, property damage, or death occurred
These duties apply to all collisions, but are especially vital when it comes to DUIs and accidents with injury. You do not want to be charged with a combination DUI and hit and run.
DUI hit and run penalties
If you fail to perform the above duties, and are shown to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, you will face serious penalties from a DUI hit and run charge. Some common DUI hit and run penalties in California include:
- $1,000 to $10,000 in fines
- 2-4 years in state prison if the accident caused a serious injury or death
- Up to 1 year in jail if the accident caused a minor injury
- Up to $1,000 in fines or up to 6 months in county jail if the accident only involved property damage (misdemeanor hit and run)
You will only face these penalties if you’re convicted, so it’s imperative that you have one of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers on your side to defend against the charge.
DUI hit and run defense
In order to convict you for a DUI hit and run, the prosecutor has to prove that you were involved in the accident, aware the accident took place, willingly failed to perform your legal duties, and were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Proving all four can be difficult, so there is a good chance that an experienced lawyer can successfully defend against the DUI hit and run charge.
A personal injury lawyer from Ellis Law Corporation can help you fight a DUI hit and run charge in court. We have the years of expertise needed to help prove that you didn’t know about the accident, didn’t leave the scene willfully, or that you were the only one injured in the accident.
We offer no upfront fees and 100% free consultations so everyone has access to high-quality legal assistance in Los Angeles. Call a car accident lawyer from Ellis Law today for your free consultation.