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What is the Difference Between a DUI Hit and Run and a Regular DUI

A California DUI conviction carries severe penalties. If you cause an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will incur additional consequences. There could be other repercussions if you flee from the scene of the accident without providing assistance or leaving any identifying information. This blog will examine the intricacies that set apart a DUI hit-and-run offense from a regular DUI charge.

A Brief Overview of a DUI Hit and Run Offense

DUI Hit and Run offense occurs when a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs causes a car accident and escapes the crime scene. DUI and hit-and-run are both serious offenses. This implies that an individual accused of both crimes will likely face harsh punishments, such as substantial fines and lengthy jail terms.

A person can face two types of California DUI Hit and Run charges:

  1. DUI hit-and-run causing physical injury, as defined by California VC 20001.
  2. DUI Hit and Run causing property damage, as described in California VC 20002.

It's important to note a few things if you've been charged with either of the two different charges:

  • You might be accused of driving under the influence even if you were not at fault for the accident. If you were operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and left the scene of the accident, you could be charged with DUI Hit and Run, even if the other driver was to blame.
  • Suppose anybody was hurt or property was damaged. In that case, you have a legal obligation to stop, assist the injured, exchange information with authorities, and wait for them to arrive if the collision was your fault. Even if the injured party was an occupant in your vehicle, you still need to do this.
  • If you are critically injured and need to get to the hospital immediately, you will be excused from stopping at the scene of the accident.

When involved in a car accident, a drunk driver will likely panic and make rushed decisions based on fear. This explains why most individuals, even if they're not responsible for the accident, will escape the scene of an accident.

Therefore, you should seek the advice of a qualified DUI lawyer. The consequences for a DUI Hit and Run are the same as those for a regular DUI and a Hit and Run offense. You can contest the two charges in court, and a solid defense strategy can increase the likelihood that the judge would decrease or even dismiss the case.

Let's look at the two counts independently to understand what it means to be charged with DUI Hit and Run.

California DUI

DUI occurs when an individual drives their vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. Drunk driving is a major factor in the number of automobile accidents in the state each year. That's why jurisdictions have such severe penalties for drunk driving. Drivers whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is found to be over the state's legal limit are frequently convicted of driving under the influence.

California DUI offenders can be convicted under several laws, including:

  • California VC 23152(a)

This provision makes it unlawful for you to drive a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. It's illegal to consume any amount of alcohol or drugs that have the potential to impair your mental or physical competence to operate a motor vehicle. The court can take legal action against you regardless of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

  • California VC 23152(b)

It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test shows 0.08% or above, the law presumes that you were drunk driving.

  • California VC 23152(c)

This legislation makes it illegal for any motorist with an addiction to alcoholic beverages, drugs, or a specific type of controlled substance to operate a  motor vehicle.

  • California VC 23152(d)

This provision prohibits any motorist holding a commercial driver's license from operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.

  • California VC 23152(e)

It is against the law for any motorist carrying passengers to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.04% or higher.

  • California VC 23152(f)

Under the provisions of this law, it is illegal for any motorist to operate an automobile while impaired by drugs.

  • California VC 23152(g)

This provision makes it illegal for you to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by both alcohol and drugs.

Most California DUI cases are charged as misdemeanors. However, you could face felony charges if:

  1. You were the cause of the car accident that left someone hurt.
  2. You had 4 or more prior California DUI convictions during the ten years.
  3. If you have a past felony DUI conviction.

The penalties for a first-time DUI offender include a hefty fine of no more than $1,000, a jail sentence of six months behind bars, and a six-month driver's license suspension.

If you are convicted of DUI for a second or third time, you might spend up to a year behind bars, pay a hefty fine of no more than $1,000, and have your license suspended for two or three years.

Felony DUI convictions are punishable by up to 16 years in prison, a fine of no more than $5,000, and a driver's license suspension of up to 5 years.

Other punishments for a California DUI include mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device (IID) system in your vehicle, severe consequences for your career, increased insurance premiums, and difficulties securing specific job opportunities, among other things.


Section 20002a of the California Vehicle Code contains provisions about hit-and-run incidents. It is against the law for you to leave the scene of an accident under this provision. You are said to have committed a hit-and-run when you collide with another car, a bystander, an animal, a stationary object, or someone else's property. You then depart the accident scene without leaving your name or providing aid to anyone who may have been hurt.

The law outlines your responsibilities following a collision, which includes the following:

  • Stopping your vehicle.
  • Locating the owner of the vehicle or property that sustained damages from the accident, if at all possible.
  • Exchanging information with other accident victims.

Your full name, physical address, driver's license number, automobile registration number, and insurance information will be required in this situation. This should also be done whether the wounded individual was your passenger and whether they want to report the accident.

You should assist if someone is hurt in the accident. If you cannot find the other motorist, perhaps because the owner parked their vehicle elsewhere, you must leave a note behind with your full name and physical address on it. Additionally, you should contact law enforcement officers and report the incident.

A motorist is only exempt from hit-and-run charges if:

  • Their vehicle was the only thing that suffered damage in the collision, and there were no people hurt as a result of the incident.
  • The motorist sustained significant injuries and needed emergency medical attention.

When a defendant is found guilty of hitting someone and fleeing the accident scene, they could be subject to harsh punishments such as huge fines and several years behind bars. This is especially true if the accident is catastrophic and results in injuries or damage to property. It is essential to keep in mind that a hit-and-run is considered a wobbler. As a result, a criminal act can result in a felony or a misdemeanor charge. Hit-and-run offenders often receive the following types of penalties:

  • Hefty fines.
  • Jail or a prison term.
  • Having their driving license revoked or suspended.
  • Increased insurance costs.
  • They risk having their insurance policies canceled.

A felony charge entails departing the scene of an accident when another person has been gravely hurt. Depending on the situation, this could be a pedestrian or an occupant in another car.

If you’re convicted of a felony, you could be obliged to pay substantial charges ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. This depends on the severity of the offense. They could also face a maximum of fifteen years in prison along with or instead of paying penalties. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you could face up to a year in county jail and a $5000 fine.

Additionally, if you are found guilty of hit-and-run, your license may be suspended for a period ranging from six months to 3 years, or the California DMV could revoke it. The gravity of these charges necessitates seeking the appropriate legal assistance from a lawyer with relevant experience.

DUI Hit and Run

The law requires motorists to stop their automobiles in the event of an accident, regardless of whether they were driving while intoxicated or not. Even though you were not to blame for the incident, you should give your information to the other drivers, motorcyclists, or pedestrians involved.

In addition, you need to offer assistance to anyone hurt in the collision before calling the police. By doing this, you evade being held accountable for the following:

  • DUI.
  • Hit and run.

Nevertheless, committing a hit-and-run crime in California while under the influence of alcohol is one of the crimes that carry the state's harshest penalties and can result in a sentence of more than 10 years in jail.

A DUI hit-and-run can encompass a wide range of other violations, including DUI causing serious injury and vehicular DUI. The nature of the collision and the presence or absence of injuries or fatalities will determine the specific charges that the prosecution will bring against the offender, such as driving under the influence (DUI), hit & run, and other related offenses.

These charges could include vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, or DUI Hit & Run causing bodily injury. You could face harsher penalties if found guilty due to the new charges and previous DUI convictions.

Even though driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident are both considered significant offenses in the state, numerous drivers often face prosecution for these two offenses. This is primarily because some motorists become terrified to stop after an accident while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Nobody wants to be held accountable for causing a collision while intoxicated, especially if it led to injuries or damage to property. That's why some motorists try to get away from the scene of the accident before the police arrive and arrest them.

Some drivers immediately leave the scene of an accident, either because they don't have insurance or because they're afraid that their premiums will go up. There are serious repercussions for not possessing car insurance. Your insurance provider will raise your premiums if you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Other motorists escaped the scene of the accident as they were too drunk to notice they had triggered an accident. Even if the motorist was unaware of the collision, they could still be held responsible for both Hit & Run and DUI. They would be subject to Hit and Run and DUI penalties if convicted of both offenses.

Penalties for DUI Hit and Run Charges

If you are found guilty of DUI hit & un, you could be subject to any or all of the following penalties:

  • Huge fines ranging from one thousand to ten thousand dollars.
  • When the accident leads to injury or death, the offender faces a prison sentence of between two to 4 years in the state's prison.
  • When the injuries inflicted were relatively mild, the offender faces up to a year in jail.
  • If that accident only caused property damage, the offender will pay fines of up to one thousand dollars and a possible jail sentence of six months. This will result in a misdemeanor DUI Hit and Run conviction.

Remember that these repercussions only apply if you are found guilty of both charges.

Dui Hit-and-Run Resulting in Physical Harm

If nobody was injured in the collision, a conviction for Hit and Run will only result in a misdemeanor charge, unless it was the defendant's fourth DUI in a 10-year period. If there were injuries from the collision, the crime would be prosecuted as a felony, making it a violent crime.

Although this was your first offense for driving under the influence, and you have not had any prior charges in the past 10 years, you'll still be obligated to serve a term of four years in state prison and pay penalties worth $10,000. The consequences for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or succeeding DUI Hit & Run conviction are more severe.

Find a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm Near Me

A DUI or a DUI Hit & Run charge could instantly alter your life. If you face these charges, you should retain legal counsel to assist you and advocate your interests in court. The legal team at Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney comprises some of the most qualified and experienced DUI defense attorneys in Los Angeles, who are eager to take on your case. Call us today at 323-464-6700.

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Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney
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Los Angeles, CA 90028