Will California Use Emergency Alerts to Help Catch Hit-and-Run Drivers?

A California assemblyman recently introduced a bill in the State legislature that calls for the use of the state's emergency alert system after a serious hit-and-run accident. According to news coverage of this bill, the emergency system is the one often used to issue Amber Alerts after child kidnappings; if the bill becomes law, the emergency alerts would come into play for hit-and-run accidents involving death or serious injury.

Opponents of the bill argue that it might overburden the emergency alert system. Supporters contend that similar alerts used elsewhere have increased the number of hit-and-run arrests.

As the debate continues in the legislature, it's worth looking at some of the main points about hit-and-run accidents:

  • Your actions would qualify as a hit-and-run if you were to leave an accident scene without stopping to ID yourself to anyone else involved.
  • A misdemeanor hit-and-run involves damage only to another person's property. A felony hit-and-run involves injury or death for another party.
  • It doesn't matter if you weren't responsible for the accident; even if it's another driver's fault, you can't just drive off. Also, keep in mind that involvement in an accident doesn't necessarily mean you collided with anyone or anything; if your behavior on the road might have contributed to an accident, you still need to stay on the scene (for example, if another driver had to swerve to avoid hitting you, because you might have crossed a lane divider, you need to stick around in the aftermath if that other driver gets into accident).

A hit-and-run charge is serious and could lead to jail, probation, fines, and administrative penalties from the California DMV. Furthermore, people sometimes get accused of hit-and-run along with other criminal charges, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Maybe you weren't aware of the fact that you got into an accident. Maybe it wasn't even you behind the wheel. Be sure to contact an experienced attorney to review your case and fight for you in court. At the Law Office of Nic Cocis & Associates, we work with individuals in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Winchester, Hemet, Corona and Riverside areas.

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