You've been at work since 5 am. All you can think about is going home and climbing into bed, but the sound of your stomach growling is too much to ignore. You haven't been home before nightfall in days, so you're sure the only thing left in the fridge is an expired gallon of milk and a bottle of ketchup. Just a quick run into the grocery can remedy the situation. You pick up some ham, bread, and throw in some eggs at the last second. Maybe you'll be ambitious and even make breakfast in the morning.
As you back out of your space, your mind is already dreaming about catching up on your favorite shows and you snuggle into the covers, but then. Bam! Uh oh, it was just a tiny crash surely, that car is fine. You take a quick look out your window, don't see any dents, and no other person is in sight. You're sure it's fine and the owner could be inside shopping for who knows how long. You head on home, grab a quick sandwich, and head off to bed. The next morning, you've entirely forgot about the incident. That is until you head home and see the police car sitting in your driveway.
In California, even misdemeanor hit and run drivers face serious penalties. If convicted you may face up to a $1,000 fine or 6 months in jail. If you hit an unattended vehicle, you are required to take responsibility for your actions. Here's the steps you should take after an accident:
1. Locate the owner of the vehicle. If you are unable to do so, leave a hand written note in an obvious spot. It should state your name, address, phone number, license number, the vehicle identification number of your care, and a brief summary of the incident.
2. Take down the information of the vehicle you hit including the make, model, and license plate.
3. Notify the local police that you had an accident and could not locate the driver.
4. Notify your vehicle insurance company.
Never assume you do not have to report the accident. Even if there are no witnesses, your car can often be identified from surveillance video.
Under California hit and run laws, a prosecutor must prove you were the driver of the vehicle, the accident caused damage to someone else's property, that you knew or should have known that property was damaged, and that you willfully failed to take action. If you have had an accident in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar, Winchester, Hemet, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside area and are facing hit and run charges, contact us for assistance. Attorney Nicolai Cocis will work directly with you from beginning to end to prepare your case.