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.