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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.

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