Charges for a DUI with Hit and Run in California

Under California law, both DUI and Hit-and-Run are serious offenses. While either crime alone can lead to serious consequences, a driver charged with DUI and Hit-and-Run needs the help of California’s most experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive DUI defense lawyers

Even a first-offense DUI conviction can cause life-changing fallout. Misdemeanor DUI convictions carry expensive fines, license suspension, years-long probation, and up to six months in jail. Hit-and-Run, or leaving the scene of an accident, is another offense with misdemeanor penalties that include fines, long periods of probation, and jail terms of up to six months. But convictions involving DUI Hit-and-Run accidents causing serious injuries can lead to years in California state prison.

When a driver is involved in an accident while they are driving under the influence and then leaves the scene of the accident before identifying themselves, the criminal penalties are greatly enhanced. And those penalties continue to escalate if additional aggravating facts are included in the case.

  • – DUI with an accident in which someone other than the driver is injured can mean a mandatory minimum 5-day jail term. 
  • – DUI with an accident causing serious injury to someone other than the driver can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in state prison (per seriously injured victim) if the State obtains a conviction.
  • – A DUI accident causing someone’s death, DUI Manslaughter, can lead to six years in state prison or more.
  • – And Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated can bring a convicted driver’s prison sentence of up to 10 years.

How Is a California DUI Hit-and-Run Defined?

A DUI Hit-and-Run combines two separate offenses, each with its own penalties. But when charged together, the stakes get higher quickly, especially when someone other than the driver is seriously injured or killed. 

To convict a driver of DUI under California law, the state must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • – The accused was “driving” a motor vehicle, and
  • – When driving the vehicle, the driver
    • a) had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, or
    • b) when alcohol or drugs cause their physical or mental abilities to be impaired to the extent that they can no longer drive as safely as a cautious sober person.

To convict a driver of a Hit-and-Run, California law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the following facts:

  • – You were driving and were involved in an accident, and
  • – The accident caused damage to property, and
  • – You knew or reasonably should have known the accident caused damage,
  • – You willfully failed to stop or exchange identification information.

California Hit-and-Run Accidents with Serious Injury or Death

Leaving the scene of an accident (Hit-and-Run) is a criminal offense for a number of reasons. Two primary reasons include ensuring drivers face up to their financial responsibility and requiring drivers to render aid or call for emergency medical care for anyone injured in the accident.

Unfortunately, after DUI accidents, many impaired drivers suddenly realize they made a very serious mistake. Fearing the consequences of a DUI conviction, many leave the accident scene. But frequently, a person injured in a vehicle accident desperately needs immediate medical treatment. When drivers leave the scene, seriously injured accident victims sometimes die for lack of first aid, CPR, or other lifesaving care. 

These considerations usually motivate prosecutors to commit an extraordinary effort to convict defendants charged with DUI Hit-and-Run.

Some Examples of a DUI Hit-and-Run?

A DUI Hit-and-Run charge can result whenever a driver under the influence fails to stop after an accident involving even slight property damage.  

Examples of how this can happen are easy to describe:

– It’s nighttime. You’re coming from a party where you had five or six drinks over two and a half hours. You feel a real buzz, but you think you’re ok to drive. You decide to take the back roads, just in case. You round a corner too widely and hit a parked car. No one sees you. In a panic, you drive away. But someone did see you and reported your license plate to the police. The police pull you over about a quarter-mile away. 

– Same scenario as the paragraph above, except it’s later afternoon and you know you’re late getting home. You take the freeway and feel free to drive faster than usual. You’re passing cars shifting between lanes as you go. As you move to the right-hand lane to pass a car, you don’t see a young man changing a tire in the breakdown lane. You hear a thud and feel the car shutter, but you keep going. You’re curious about the noise, but you don’t stop. Two miles up the road a highway patrol cruiser pulls you over. At the police station, you learn the young man is dead.

– Other examples happen every day. It can happen to anyone who mixes too much alcohol or other ability-impairing substances with driving. People of all descriptions face criminal charges following accidents after drinking enough to impair their driving skills to a degree that renders them unable to operate a motor vehicle safely.

DUI with Hit and Run Penalties in California

Penalties in California in cases of DUI Hit-and-Run include a wide range of possibilities because each of the offenses carries minimum fines, potential jail sentences, license suspensions, and years of probation. But a DUI Hit-and-Run case in which someone is killed, and the driver has a previous DUI and was driving recklessly in the current accident, might lead to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, aggravated by leaving the scene. Such a scenario could threaten the driver with decades in prison.

Keeping in mind the potential for serious enhancements and related criminal charges in more serious cases, more usual cases carry the following penalties:

  • – $1,000 to $20,000 in fines depending on whether any of the following circumstances are involved
    • 1. BAC over 0.08 or 0.2, refusal to submit to chemical testing
    • 2. child in the car, 
    • 3. property damage, 
    • 4. serious personal injury or death of another person
    • 5. 1st offense or subsequent offense
    • 6. prior criminal record
  • – Up to 6 months in jail if the accident only involved property damage (misdemeanor hit and run)
  • – Between 3 and 5 years probation
  • – Up to 1 year in jail if the accident caused a minor injury
  • – Between 2 and 4 years in state prison (if the accident caused a serious injury or death)
  • – Up to between 1 and 3 years license suspension 

California’s Premiere DUI Hit and Run Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with a DUI Hit-and-Run in California, you avoid the harshest penalties by utilizing a skilled DUI and hit and run defense attorney. Hart Levin and his expert team have earned statewide recognition as the premiere DUI defense team in California by trying and winning many DUI and Hit-and-Run cases. We have become the gold standard for DUI defense in LA County and beyond. 

What Can The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin Do for You?

If you are charged with DUI, Hit-and-Run, or both DUI and Hit-and-Run, you need to be represented by one of the most experienced DUI defense lawyers in California. You cannot be convicted unless the prosecution successfully proves the details of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attorney Levin and his associates use their comprehensive knowledge of California DUI Hit-and-Run laws and criminal court procedures to protect clients from convictions by closely examining the facts of each case to identify weaknesses in the prosecutor’s evidence. 

  • – Can the prosecutor prove you were driving at the time of the accident?
  • – Was there really probable cause to arrest you?
  • – How can they prove the driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs?
  • – Can the charges be reduced because the alleged injuries were less serious than claimed?
  • – Was the accident so minor that the driver did not and should not have known any collision occurred?
  • – Did the DUI arrest involve field sobriety tests? Were they administered according to the required protocols?
  • – Was there a valid reason for leaving the scene, such as the other party threatening your safety?

If the prosecution fails to prove a single required element beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge cannot lead to a conviction. Skillful aggressive defense lawyers use pretrial negotiation and motions to suppress evidence to get their clients every advantage.

Get the Highest Rated DUI and Hit-and-Run Defense Lawyers in Southern California.

Contact The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin Now

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