Under California Vehicle Codes 20001 and 20002, a hit-and-run charge can result from leaving the scene of a car accident without first making your identifying information known to anyone else involved. The accident in question needs to result in another person's property getting damaged (misdemeanor hit-and-run) or another person sustaining injuries (felony hit-and-run).
The following are three major misconceptions involving hit-and-run charges:
1) I didn't cause the accident, so I can leave the scene immediately
You might think to yourself that if you didn't cause the accident, you're free to go. However, this isn't the case. It doesn't matter if you share absolutely no fault in the crash. It doesn't matter if the other driver behaved with obvious negligence or criminality, such as driving drunk. You can still get charged with a hit-and-run if you leave the scene without identifying yourself.
(Keep in mind that if you're afraid of identifying yourself, because you fear another person's violent behavior, you should at least contact police immediately to report the accident. The same goes for reporting injuries, such as when another driver is unconscious or appears to have passed away.)
2) There was barely any damage, so I can just leave
You can still get charged, even if there's a minimal amount of property damage or, in the case of felony hit-and-run, very minor injuries.
3) I didn't collide with anyone or anything, so I'm automatically free to go
Think carefully if your driving might have contributed to an accident. Even if you weren't involved in the impact itself, you might have done something to cause it, such as driving erratically or violating a traffic law. If you then leave the scene without notifying anyone, you can get arrested for hit-and-run.
Don't hesitate to contact our law office in the aftermath of a hit-and-run charge. Maybe the charges against you are unjustified. Regardless of the situation, you need a strong legal defense. We work with adults and juveniles in the in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar, Perris, Hemet, Banning, Corona and Riverside areas.