Hit and Run Attorney

Amber Alerts for Hit and Run Investigations in Oakland (CA Vehicle Code 20001(a))

After years of debate, Governor brown signed legislation approving phone alerts for serious hit and run accident in violation of California Vehicle Code 20001(a).   It is anticipated that Assembly Bill 8 will allow for the equivalent of Amber alerts for more serious Hit and Run accidents starting in January 2016.  Oakland has the highest rate of unsolved Hit and Run cases and residents should expect “Yellow Alerts” for pending investigations in which officers know the make and model of the vehicle or have a description of the driver.

Opponents of the bill argue that Amber alerts work precisely because there are so few of them and that additional alerts will cause ambivalence on the part of the citizens who get constant alerts.  There were over 300 unsolved Hit and Run (CA VC 20001(a)) accidents in Oakland last year.  That is almost one a day.

Hit and run charges is considered a ‘wobbler’ in California, meaning that prosecutors must determine whether or not they will treat it as a misdemeanor or as a felony. This depends upon various factors of the case and the seriousness of the injuries sustained by any victims. A misdemeanor hit and run conviction could mean a fine of up to $10,000 and 1 year in county jail. However, if a person is convicted of a felony hit and run, they may spend up to 4 years in state prison and be subject to the same fine.

Santa Rosa Hit and Run Injures Skateboarder (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

A man from Gulf Breeze, Florida (20) was apparently hit by a car that then drove off in an early morning hit and run incident in Santa Rosa near El Encanto Drive and St. Francis Road. Although the vehicle involved has yet to be identified, witnesses claim that it was a dark blue or black sedan of some sort. The skateboarder was taken to a local hospital with a severe head injury, but is expected to fully recover.

According to California’s Vehicle Code 20001, a hit and run may be considered a felony if either death or serious injury occur as a result of the incident. Any time that an individual person chooses to leave the scene of such an accident without identifying him or herself or stopping to determine whether or not injury or death has been a result may be accused of a California hit and run. If there were no injury or death involved, this crime would normally be considered a misdemeanor. However, when someone else is hurt in the accident, it becomes a felony.

Technically, however, a violation of this particular law is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that prosecutors assigned to the case are left to determine whether or not they will treat it as a misdemeanor or as a felony. This normally depends upon the specific facts of the case and the seriousness of the injuries sustained by any victims. A misdemeanor hit and run conviction could mean a fine of up to $10,000 and 1 year in county jail. However, if a person is convicted of a felony hit and run, they may spend up to 4 years in state prison and be subject to the same fine.

Suspect will Face Charges of Felony Hit and run (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a man was hit as he was attempting to cross, on foot, Interstate 580 near 150th Avenue.  The car, reportedly a ‘white vehicle,’ did not stop to call emergency personnel or to see whether the victim was still alive.  By the time law enforcement agents with the California Highway Patrol arrived on the scene, the man’s body had been blocking eastbound traffic for about 10 minutes; ostensibly, other drivers called in the incident.  When the individual responsible for the incident is found, they will face charges of felony hit-and-run.

In the state of California, any hit-and-run involving either death or serious injury is considered to be a felony (CA Vehicle Code 20001).  Any person, after being involved in such an occurrence, who then leaves the scene without speaking to emergency medical personnel and to the police, may be charged with a hit-and-run.  Normally, these cases are treated as misdemeanors, unless of course, the accident caused another person to be seriously injured or killed.

Technically, ‘felony’ hit-and-run charge is, in reality, a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that prosecutors determine whether or not misdemeanor or felony charges will be pursued once they have all the facts of the case.  A misdemeanor hit-and-run charge, under this rubric, could result in a $10,000 fine and up to 1 year in county jail.  Penalties for a felony level hit-and-run, however, are harsh.  If convicted, the person involved in Sunday morning’s death could face up to $10,000 in fines and up to 4 years in state prison.

 

Pedestrian Killed in Hit-and-run in Bay Point (CA Vehicle Code 20001 and 20002)

One of the wonderful things about living in the Bay area is that it’s a walking city.  Especially on days when the weather is warm, it’s easy to make the decision to walk to your destination if it’s close enough.  However, this quality that makes the greater S.F. area so amazing can also mean danger.  It seems as if there is a new item in the paper every week concerning a hit-and-run involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, usually with serious injuries to the pedestrian.  Just recently, a 25-year-old woman was legally walking through a crosswalk at Bailey and Canal when she was struck by an unidentified car; medical personnel called to the site of the incident pronounced her dead at the scene.  It seems that she did not survive long enough to give local law enforcement or other agents a description of the car that hit and killed her.

The truth is that it is likely because there are so many ‘vehicle versus pedestrian’ incidents in the region that California law is so strict concerning accidents involving a hit-and-run.  In California, a hit-and-run offense could be treated either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the specific circumstances of a case.  This is what is commonly referred to as a ‘wobbler’ and it is up to local prosecutors to determine exactly how they will charge someone.

Usually, however, if the hit-and-run involves the damage of property, it will be considered a misdemeanor offense.  However, if a person is involved and they are either seriously injured or killed, then this charge can rise to the level of a felony (California Vehicle Code 20001 and 20002).  Under the law, drivers are required to stop and wait for the police when they have been involved in any type of accident.  It doesn’t matter who was at fault or how the accident happened, the rule still applies.  If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge, they may face up to 6 months in county jail and a $1,000 fine.  However, if the conviction is for a felony hit-and-run, penalties vary, depending on the seriousness of the injuries.  For example, a felony hit-and-run penalty could be anywhere between 24 and 48 months in state prison.  There could also, as will be likely in the case above, be charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, which can add 5 years to this already lengthy sentence.

 

Driver Accused of Felony Hit-and-Run involving Death of San Leandro Boy (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

On the back of the recent arrest of the individual who caused a 14-year-old San Leandro boy’s death during a police chase is the decision by a San Francisco based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that attempting to escape law enforcement officials with the use of a vehicle could now be considered ‘violent’ and a felony.  This particular decision was the result of a lengthy appeals process begun after a Fresno man (all names have been withheld in order to preserve privacy) who fled police because he was already a felon in possession of a firearm was given a longer sentence because he tried to bolt in a car, resulting in charges of felony hit-and-run (CA Vehicle Code 20001).

Of course, according to the court’s final decision, an individual has to know that they are fleeing from an officer of the law. More than this, trying to evade a police officer is a crime in and of itself in the state of California (CA Vehicle Code 2800.1).  Proving that someone actually violated this law can, however, be a bit tricky.  Prosecutors must be able to show that evasion was the specific intent of the accused, that a clearly uniformed officer was present, that a police siren was being used at the time, that the vehicle being evaded is a clearly marked police vehicle, and that at least one red light was easily visible on the officer’s vehicle.

Normally, a violation of this law is considered a misdemeanor and a conviction would likely result in a $1,000 fine and up to 1 year in county jail.  However, CA Vehicle Code 2800.2 (felony reckless evading an officer) is a wobbler, meaning that it could just as easily be prosecuted as a felony as a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the particular case.  A conviction on felony reckless evasion charges could end with a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 3 years in state prison.  If the evasion ends in the death of another person, the accused could be looking at up to 10 years in state prison.  Furthermore, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just determined, sentences for evasion are considered ‘violent’ in California law and could result in sentencing enhancements beyond normal penalties.

 

14-Year Old Killed in Hit-and-Run During Police Chase in Ashland (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

There has been much debate as of late concerning whether or not law enforcement officials should be allowed to chase suspects through neighborhood and city streets.  Just recently, a 14-year-old boy was accidentally killed in unincorporated Ashland, CA near Ashland Avenue and East 14th Street by an as of yet unidentified suspect who was fleeing from police during a high speed chase around 6:30 at night.  It seems that the man, who was driving a burgundy Saturn that was later found abandoned, was allegedly driving recklessly in the San Leandro area when police tried to pull him over.  Instead of allowing the officers to speak to him, the man took off, thus leading to the chase.

If found, the man in the Saturn could face charges of felony hit and run (CA Vehicle Code 20001). This crime is actually a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it is up to prosecutors to determine whether it will be treated as a misdemeanor or as a felony.  Felony convictions under this law mean facing a maximum $10,000 fine and up to 4 years in state prison, depending on the seriousness of the injuries or whether death occurred.

More interestingly, friends and family members of Cruz must be wondering whether or not Ivan would have been in jeopardy of death if the police had not been chasing the unnamed man.  According to the sheriff’s department, police in California are able to justify a police chase for any number of reasons, from minor infractions to all-out manhunts.  However, it is difficult to see how this incident could have occurred in the way that it did without the police in hot pursuit behind the Saturn.

 

Aunt Charged in Mission Street Hit-and-Run Case (CA Vehicle Code 20002)

The aunt of her niece (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) (25) decided to take her and her twin brother to a late movie in the Mission District.  The problem occurred when, on their way to the parking garage near the Westfield San Francisco Centre, they had to cross Mission Street.  Traveling against the crosswalk signs and while the light was green for drivers, she took her niece out into the middle of the street, leaving her there for the time it took for her to go back for her twin brother.  During that space of time, her niece was struck and killed by a vehicle that never stopped.  Gage has been arrested, to the chagrin of her sister, on charges of felony child endangerment, mainly due to evidence from security camera footage at the scene.  The driver of the car that hit the toddler has yet to be identified.

Although the daughter’s mother is horrified, shocked, and angry that her sister currently sits in jail because of the incident, she blames the driver instead. By California law, the aunt’s actions fall under CA Penal Code 273a.  Here, child endangerment can be described in at least 3 ways: allowing a child to be subjected to any physical or mental pain and suffering, causing or permitting a child to be injured while in your care, and causing or permitting a child to be in a dangerous situation.  Whether the aunt acted purposefully and with malice or not, the fact that she left her young niece in the middle of a crosswalk while drivers had a green light is certainly considered putting her in a dangerous situation.  Because her niece was killed in the incident, the aunt has been charged with a felony and will face up to 6 years in state prison.  When and if the driver of the car can be identified, they will be subject to felony hit-and-run charges (CA Vehicle Code 20002)

 

Driver Arrested on Felony Hit and Run Charges in The Tenderloin (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

In California, law enforcement officials take hit-and-run charges very seriously.  Just ask 25-year-old driver (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused), who stole a minivan, crashed into a taxi cab during a police chase, and injured at least 6 people in the process.  He is now facing 10 felony charges, ranging from 6 hit-and-run charges (one for each person he hit), 1 charge of falsification of a license plate, 1 grand theft auto charge, and 2 charges for reckless driving.

Any one of the above crimes could be considered a felony according to California law.  Falsifying a license plate, sticker, or vehicle registration falls under California Vehicle Code 4463.  According to this provision, even interfering with a license plate (it is assumed that he removed it from the stolen van) is considered fraud. It is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that you may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of your particular situation.  On this felony charge alone, he could face up to 3 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

The state of California has made hit-and-run charges a felony. If there has been an injury or death involved during the commission of this crime (CA Vehicle Code 20001).  If convicted on a felony hit-and-run charge, he could face up to 3 years in a California state prison for each count and another $10,000 fine.  A grand theft auto conviction  (CA Penal Code 487(d)(1) and CA Vehicle Code 10851) also a ‘wobbler,’ could mean that he may spend up to another 3 years in state prison.  This means that if he is convicted on all counts that he has been charged with, he could end up spending approximately 24 years (or more)  in state prison and tens of thousands of dollars before he is eventually released.

 

Arrest Made in Fatal Hit and Run in SF Visitacion Valley (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

Local law enforcement officials say that an 80-year-old was attempting to walk from Visitacion Avenue onto Bayshore Boulevard when she was hit by a white Dodge Durango driven by 31-year-old (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) of San Francisco.  It seems that the accused not only drove away from the scene of the accident, but doubled-back to see what had happened before eventually leaving altogether.  He has been arrested on felony hit and run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

In the state of California, felony hit and run crimes involve serious injury or death (CA Vehicle Code 20001).  Of course, any time you leave the scene of an accident you have been involved in, you run the risk of being accused of a hit and run.  However, the penalties could be much more serious if another party has been killed or seriously injured.  It doesn’t matter whose fault the accident was, even if you weren’t the cause of the accident, you could still be arrested on hit-and-run charges if you flee the scene.  The crime of hit and run is considered a ‘wobbler’ in California.  This means that this crime could be prosecuted either as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.  Usually, prosecutors will take into account all of the specific facts of each individual case in order to make this determination.

If you are convicted of a felony hit and run, then you may find yourself facing anywhere from a $1,000 to a $10,000 fine.  In addition, you could spend up to 3 years in prison.  However, you could spend 4 years in prison if death or serious injury is involved.

 

San Francisco Hit-and-Run Incidents on The Rise (CA Vehicle Code 20001)

The intersection of Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue, close to San Francisco City Hall, has been the scene of two different tragic accidents involving a hit-and-run.  This last occurrence marks the third hit-and-run in the city since the beginning of the year.  An unnamed man in his 50’s was attempting to cross Grove and Van Ness when he was hit by a vehicle that promptly drove away; the day before, another man (78) was killed by another vehicle as he crossed Sunset Boulevard at Yorba Street and another man (38) was hit and killed at Grove and Van Ness at the beginning of January.

In the state of California, hit-and-run cases are taken very seriously.  If you leave the scene of such an accident without somehow identifying yourself and you have caused injury or death to another party, then you may be facing felony hit-and-run charges (CA Vehicle Code 20001).  A felony hit-and-run charge has much the same elements as a misdemeanor hit-and-run with one exception, that death or serious injury has occurred.  Additionally, in order to be convicted of a felony hit-and-run, prosecutors must be able to prove that you knew you could and did cause these serious injuries or death to another party.  They must also be able to prove that you knowingly and willfully fled the scene of the accident.

Technically, even a felony hit-and-run charge is a ‘wobbler’ in California.  It is up to the individual prosecutor as to whether to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on their take on the circumstances of the accident.  If you are convicted of a felony hit-and-run, you may face 3 years in a California state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.  If death or serious injury has occurred, that prison sentence could go up to 4 years.