California Vehicle Code 20002 – Hit and Run

It is an offense under California Vehicle Code 20002 to cause damage to another person’s property while driving and flee from the scene. The law expects you to stop and exchange contact information with the person whose property is damaged. Most drivers in California are ignorant of this law and the penalty that comes with breaking it. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse here. This is why you must have basic knowledge of this requirement to avoid committing this offense and being convicted.

What Does California Vehicle Code 20002 Require of You?

When driving a vehicle and you accidentally crash into another person’s property, causing damage to it, the law requires the following of you:

  • Stop the vehicle and give your contact information to the other party.
  • Provide your insurance information to the other party.
  • Where the owner of the damaged property is not in sight, leave your contact information behind and report to the nearest police station.

Where this occurs, and you fail to stop the vehicle and do the necessary things, you have committed the hit-and-run offense under California Vehicle Code 20002. This particular crime is a misdemeanor under the Code.

Penalty

If you are charged and found guilty of this offense, you are liable to:

  • A maximum penalty of 6 months jail time in the county jail and a fine of $1,000.
  • 2 demerit points will be added to your California driving record.
  • You may also face penalties such as 3 years of probation and an order by the court to restitute the damaged property.

To find you guilty of this offense, the prosecution must successfully prove that:

  • You were involved in an accident while driving.
  • The accident resulted in the damage of another person’s property.
  • You were aware that an accident and, subsequently, damage occurred.
  • You failed to stop after it happened and failed to provide the necessary information to the owner of the damaged property.

Note that whether or not you caused the accident is immaterial. The law still requires you to stop and do the needful. Also, where you are not the owner of the vehicle used, you must provide the owner’s contact information to the other party.

Possible Defenses You May Plead

  1. You were aware that an accident had occurred.
  2. The accident did not result in the damage to any property
  3. Only the driver’s vehicle was damaged.
  4. If your life was in danger, possibly under threat or pressure.

Any of the above defenses, if successfully proven, can exonerate you from liability. To successfully prove any of them, you must contact a California criminal defense attorney immediately. A criminal defense attorney will be in a better position to guide you through the necessary steps to take and represent you in court if the need arises. Do well not to jeopardize your freedom, and contact one today.

Are you looking for representation for your case? Schedule a Consultation with us today.

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