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Orange County Hit and Run Defense Lawyer

Orange County Hit and Run Defense Lawyer

Getting into a car accident can be a scary and stressful experience. Even more so if you leave the scene without exchanging information. Being charged with hit and run in California can lead to serious criminal penalties, even for an accident that only caused property damage.

If you have been accused of a hit and run in Orange County, don’t go through it alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges and build the strongest possible defense for your case.

This article will provide an overview of hit and run laws in California, typical penalties, and possible defenses to fight the charges. With the right legal guidance, many people accused of hit and run are able to avoid convictions that could damage their criminal record and future.

What is Hit and Run Under California Law?

California distinguishes between hit and run offenses involving:

  • Property damage only (misdemeanor)
  • Injuries or death (felony)

Misdemeanor Hit and Run

Under California Vehicle Code 20002, it is a misdemeanor hit and run if you:

  • Are involved in an accident causing property damage
  • Know that an accident occurred
  • Fail to stop and exchange information or provide reasonable assistance

This applies even if the damage to the other vehicle is minor. Leaving the scene without providing your name, license, registration and insurance information is against the law.

Potential penalties for misdemeanor hit and run include:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • Fines up to $1000
  • Informal probation up to 3 years

Felony Hit and Run

California Vehicle Code 20001 makes it a felony to leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured or killed. You must:

  • Stop at the scene
  • Provide your name, address and vehicle information
  • Show your license to officers if requested
  • Render reasonable assistance to injured parties, including arranging medical transport
  • Immediately report the accident if no officers are present and a death occurred

If convicted of felony hit and run, penalties can include:

  • 1 year in county jail
  • Fines from $1000 to $10,000
  • Up to 4 years in state prison if a death occurred

Common Defenses Against Hit and Run Charges

While hit and run allegations should always be taken seriously, there are often strong defenses that an experienced lawyer can raise on your behalf:

You Were Not the Driver

If someone else was driving the vehicle, they would be liable for any hit and run, not you. This defense can apply if your vehicle was stolen or borrowed without permission. The prosecution must prove you were driving.

No Knowledge an Accident Occurred

You can only be convicted if the prosecution can show you knew an accident happened and still left the scene. For example, a minor tap that you did not feel may not qualify if you were reasonably unaware of any collision.

Could Not Safely Stop

There are situations where it is reasonable not to stop immediately – such as cases of road rage where stopping could jeopardize your safety. However, you must still report the accident to police as soon as safely possible.

No Property Damage to Others

If the only damage was to your own vehicle (i.e. hitting a pole), there may not have been property damage “to another” to trigger hit and run laws. But it depends on the specific circumstances.

Civil Compromise

In the past, it was sometimes possible to avoid criminal charges by reaching a civil compromise with the victim party to cover damages. However, as of 2018 civil compromises are no longer allowed to dismiss hit and run charges in California[5].

Finding the Right Orange County Hit and Run Lawyer

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony hit and run charges, having an experienced California traffic crimes attorney on your side can make all the difference. Look for a lawyer who:

  • Has extensive experience defending hit and run cases in Orange County
  • Understands the complexities of traffic accident investigations
  • Will aggressively examine the prosecution’s evidence against you
  • Is prepared to mount an assertive defense in court if necessary

A knowledgeable lawyer will evaluate the specifics of your case and explain your options. In many cases, they may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce or dismiss charges.

Don’t leave the outcome to chance. The consequences of a hit and run conviction can follow you for years. An Orange County criminal defense attorney can protect your rights, freedom and future.

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

Associate Attorney

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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