What Evidence Is Needed To Convict A Hit-and-Run Driver?

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    In hit-and-run cases, compelling evidence is crucial to ensure accountability, such as photos and videos, paint damage, skidmarks, eyewitness testimonies, police and first responder reports, medical records, and more.

    Imagine being involved in a hit-and-run incident and the culprit fleeing after hitting you. You are left grappling with injuries, medical bills, other expenses, and how you might seek justice. In this situation, the experienced hit-and-run lawyers at Arash Law, led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq, can provide the legal assistance you need.

    In California, which unfortunately holds the nation’s highest hit-and-run rate, gathering the proper evidence is paramount. According to a study by ValuePenguin, the state has witnessed a distressing 44% increase in hit-and-run-related fatalities over the past decade. Due to this alarming trend, evidence must be served to bring hit-and-run perpetrators to justice and safeguard the interests and rights of victims.

    Arash Law’s hit-and-run attorneys can serve you with their knowledge and experience. Hit-and-run cases can be complex, and our lawyers are proficient in resolving them. They can ensure that every piece of evidence is effectively employed. We aim to help you obtain justice and the fair compensation you deserve. Call us today at (888) 488-1391 to start fighting for your rights.

    What Is Considered A Hit-And-Run in California?

    Hit-and-Run accident in CaliforniaA hit-and-run incident occurs when one of the involved drivers, after a minor or severe car accident, immediately fled the scene without waiting for law enforcement. In these situations, the driver deliberately avoids the consequences of the collision.

    Hit-and-run drivers occasionally attempt to rationalize their actions, offering reasons such as avoiding interaction with the police or feeling overwhelming fear. It is also possible that they may attempt to avoid alcohol or drug tests or perhaps even evade an arrest because of an outstanding warrant.

    Under California Penal Code §20001, departing the scene of an accident is subject to criminal penalties. The statute mandates that individuals involved in car accidents must remain at the scene and give their identifying information. When someone has been injured or lost their life, the other driver must call 911 for emergency assistance.

    Failure to stay at the accident scene can result in legal charges, categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California. The penalties are as follows:

    1. Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run:
      • Up to six months in jail;
      • A fine of up to $1,000
    2. Felony Hit-and-Run:
      • Carries a sentence ranging from 90 days to one year of imprisonment and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, contingent on the incident’s specific circumstances.

    If you find yourself a victim of a hit-and-run driver, after getting the medical help you need and the police report, the next step to do is to gather evidence. Collecting the necessary documents and witness statements yourself might be challenging, especially when recovering from the accident. The help of a good hit-and-run accident victim lawyer from Arash Law can mean a world of difference for you and your case.

    What Evidence Do I Need to Provide to Convict A Hit-And-Run Driver?

    Police in California Patrolling for a Hit-and-Run SuspectTo charge a driver of a hit-and-run, you and your accident lawyer need to provide some evidence. In hit-and-run car accident cases, the following types of evidence are commonly used:

    1. Photographs and Videos: Crucial for reconstructing events and showing conditions at the scene.
    2. Paint Evidence: Helps establish contact between vehicles, aiding fault determination.
    3. Skidmark Evidence: Provides insights into vehicle movements, aiding accident reconstruction.
    4. Eyewitness Testimony: Offers firsthand accounts of the incident’s sequence.
    5. Police and First Responder Testimony: Provides insights into official observations and actions at the scene.
    6. Expert Witnesses: Offer specialized expertise on critical aspects of the case.
    7. Medical Records and Bills: Document injuries and treatment, which are crucial for proving damages.
    8. Employer Records: Prove economic losses, such as lost wages.
    9. Recovery Journal: Chronicles the victim’s physical and emotional struggles, illustrating the impact.

    A hit-and-run car accident typically gives rise to both criminal and civil proceedings. In criminal cases, law enforcement authorities and the county prosecutor investigate the appropriate charges against the hit-and-run perpetrator. Their primary responsibility is to locate the suspect and conduct a criminal inquiry.

    Conversely, in a civil case, an injured party exercises their legal entitlement to seek compensation from the responsible driver for the consequences of the car accident, often with the assistance of a personal injury attorney. It’s essential to note that this type of civil litigation does not aim to incarcerate the hit-and-run driver. Instead, its purpose is to provide restitution to the injured individual for the significant harm inflicted upon their life, physical well-being, and financial stability.

    While criminal and civil cases operate under distinct evidentiary standards, the types of evidence presented in these cases typically overlap significantly. Authorities may also utilize several specialized evidence-collection methods, some of which are accessible to the public. These methods enhance the effectiveness of evidence gathering and preservation.

    For instance, if a hit-and-run driver is apprehended shortly after the accident and there are grounds to suspect driving under the influence, law enforcement authorities possess the prerogative to administer a breathalyzer test to the driver. As an injured victim, you do not have the authority to pursue a suspect, physically apprehend them, and subject them to a breathalyzer examination.

    Similarly, paint evidence is crucial in determining liability in hit-and-run cases. The presence of paint streaks and marks on the other party’s vehicle can explain how the collision occurred. However, preserving this evidential material can be challenging, mainly when dealing with a hit-and-run scenario. For example, an ambulance might have transported you away from the accident scene before you could retain any evidence.

    What is the Burden of Proof?

    To secure a conviction in a hit-and-run case, prosecutors must meet the stringent standard of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For this burden to be met, the defendant must demonstrate that anything other than his guilt cannot explain the events. If there is doubt about the defendant’s guilt, the defendant must be acquitted.

    However, a knowledgeable hit-and-run victim attorney can help the plaintiff gather enough evidence to charge the defendant successfully. This way, you can ensure that justice is served and your suffering and pain are rightfully compensated.

    What If The Vehicle Is Parked And Empty?

    A parked car got caught in a hit-and-run.When an accident occurs, you must know the state’s requirements to take the appropriate measures. States have different requirements, but the driver should generally stop the vehicle and remain at the accident scene.

    It is also necessary for the vehicle driver to exchange information with the other driver, including their name and contact information. If there are any passengers in the vehicle, they must also exchange information. There are some states where it is legally mandatory for the driver to call the police, even if there is no injury.

    In the state of California, your initial course of action for seeking redress in the aftermath of any incident, including situations where a motorist has collided with your stationary vehicle, is as follows:

    • Show proof of liability of the negligent driver
    • Upon establishing the liability of the responsible driver, you may commence the process of initiating a claim against their insurance policy.
    • Should their insurance coverage prove insufficient to address your losses adequately, you will be required to initiate a personal injury claim to pursue compensation for the remaining damages.

    What If You Can’t Find The Hit-and-Run Driver?

    If law enforcement fails to locate the driver responsible for the collision, do not despair. Your insurer can cover the cost of your claim if you have an uninsured motorist policy. The hit-and-run lawyers of Arash Law can assist you in evaluating your alternatives and pursuing any accessible compensation.

    We Can Help You Gather Hit-And-Run Evidence

    Compelling evidence is critical in determining the outcome of your case. Even when the other driver has fled the accident scene, there should be no cause for concern for you as the victim when proving the charge. Many potential evidence sources exist, such as nearby security cameras, dashcams, local businesses, homeowners, and more.

    When seeking guidance on the necessary evidence required for a hit-and-run conviction or to substantiate personal injury claims, look no further than the competent hit-and-run lawyers at Arash Law, founded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. With decades of expertise in handling hit-and-run cases, we assist our clients in identifying the evidence necessary to establish hit-and-run convictions.

    We serve the following locations – Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Bakersfield, Fresno, Anaheim, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Ana, Oceanside, Santa Rosa, Glendale, Fremont, San Bernardino, and Visalia. Our legal team can come to you anywhere in California, 24/7.

    Our practice covers various areas of personal injury law, including navigating challenging hit-and-run cases on California’s roads. You should focus on your recovery while we attend to the legal intricacies. Contact Arash Law, led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., today at (888) 488-1391 for a free case evaluation.

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    DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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