Can the driver in a hit and run case be acquitted of fault?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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A hit-and-run can happen out of nowhere. One moment you are walking the streets of California, and the next a driver crashes their vehicle into you. Rather than remain and take accountability, the driver speeds away and leaves you injured. You have been the victim of a hit-and-run, but if you pursue a case against the driver can the driver be acquitted for any reason?

California state law is very clear on this matter. The California legislative information website states that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident is legally required to stop their vehicle and comply with law officials on the scene. Failure to remain on the scene constitutes a hit-and-run, while failure to comply with law officials may escalate to resisting arrest. A hit-and-run is considered fleeing the scene of a crime, which carries severe charges.

Penalties for the hit-and-run vary based on the severity of the damage or injury involved. Serious or permanent injury or death can result in higher fees and longer jail time than minor damages or injury. While a judge may relax the cost of any fee-based penalties based on determinations of the defendant’s capacity to pay, the crime itself is charged as either a misdemeanor or felony with no provisions for zero fault. If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run, the offender will face some form of punishment.

The information provided here is for reference purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice or substitute for appropriate attorney counsel.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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