Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in California. If you leave the scene of a car accident, you could end facing criminal charges. Even if you did not cause the accident, state law prohibits drivers from leaving the scene. According to CBSLA.com, drivers who leave the scenes of car accidents can be criminally charged up to six years after the date of the events.

There are many reasons why your accident occurred. You may have been drinking or distracted. No matter the cause, the severity of the charges you face depend on if there are injuries, death and property damage. To better understand what is at stake, you should learn more about hit-and-run charges and their penalties.

Misdemeanor charge

Hit-and-run accidents that result in a small amount of property damage and no injuries are usually misdemeanors. If you receive a misdemeanor hit-and-run charge, you can expect to pay fines, restitution and spend up to six months in jail. If all you did was damage another person’s vehicle that does not mean that you will only face a misdemeanor charge. There are other factors that are used to determine the seriousness of the crime and appropriate penalties.

Felony charge

If someone is seriously hurt or dies from their injuries, you may end up facing felony charges. A felony hit-and-run charge is more serious than a misdemeanor charge because the penalties include prison time and thousands of dollars in restitution. Additional charges are possible if other traffic rules and laws were broken.

Hit-and-run accidents are serious crimes that you should not take lightly. Your ability to handle them depends on the circumstances and if you decide to seek out counsel. This information is only intended as educational material and should not be used as legal advice.