Hit & Run (VC 20002)

Law Office of Kristine Koo

How a Hit & Run can begin – a Story

(Facts are made up to illustrate what can happen for a Hit & Run)

He’s 20 years old.  Attends UCLA.  Pre-med.  It is December 2021, and he is driving his parent’s car.  He is visiting home during Christmas Break.  His past finals are on his mind as it was a stressful winter semester. And as he is driving on the freeway one evening, he is in not paying attention.   It is very busy on the road and a car near him is trying to change lanes.  Because he is not paying attention and he is thinking of his finals, he hits the car in front of him.  He later finds out the person in that car is injured from the impact, breaks a leg, and is transported to the ER.  

He is scared.  Nervous.  Shaken up.  He has never gotten into an accident before.  Since there are a lot of cars on the road, he tries to pull over, but he cannot.  He keeps driving forward slowly, then decides to go home.  Unbeknownst to the 20 year old student, another driver follows him home and takes down his license’ plate’s number.  

The next day, the police call the student. 

The police call

The student respond to the police that he will talk to them.  He goes to the police station and divulges the details.  He learns that the person he hit went to the ER.  The 20 year old goes home after giving a statement. 

Please note that while it is important to comply with law enforcement – it is also so important to have an attorney by your side for these conversations.  Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.   

What should someone do if they get into an accident

When someone gets into an accident where someone is injured or there is property damage, it is required by law to immediately stop as reasonably possible.  And, in most cases one must call the police to report it.   This is regardless of whose fault it is.  After an accident one must also share DL information and insurance.  

If you do not do that, you can be charged with a crime. 

Hit and Run elements

A hit and run in California can be a misdemeanor or felony.   A hit and run that involves property damage is typically charged as a misdemeanor.  While a hit and run that involves bodily injury or death can be charged as a felony.  

If you are facing a misdemeanor, it is up to one year in jail, but there is a minimum of 90 day in custody.  Probation will be apart of sentencing.  The fine ranges from $1000-$10,000, there is victim restitution, and two points on your driving record. 

If you are convicted of a felony, you could be looking at 2, 3, or 4 years in CA state prison.  A fine ranging from $1000-$10,000, victim restitution, and two points on driving record may also be added.  

A conviction for a felony can be eligible to be reduced to a misdemeanor after successful completion of probation under PC 17(b).  

Defenses to Hit & Run 

Defenses to Hit and Run are: Lack of knowledge, you did not know of your involvement in the hit and run, leaving the scene was not willful (perhaps it was unsafe to remain at the scene or you had an emergency situation requiring you to leave the accident scene immediately), or you were the party injured, and had to be driven away by an ambulance. 

What should you do if you are facing a Hit & Run? 

Contact an attorney immediately.  A hit and run is a very serious crime and getting through the criminal system can be intimidating.  It is important to have a competent and wise attorney by your side. 

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Kristine was my lawyer for an unexpected and ugly divorce and custody battle last year. Kristine was professional, taking the time to get to know me. She constantly kept me informed of upcoming hearings and...


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